Girls’ Generation 10th Anniversary!

Hello everyone,

As promised, I am back with more music posts and today’s post will be about Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD.

SNSD are a South Korean girl group who debuted on August 5, 2007 with their single “Into The New World”. The group has a long and successful career, however, that wasn’t always the case. In South Korea, boy bands were more dominant in the music scene at that time. When SNSD debuted, there were of course fans who cheered them on but in the beginning they were mistreated by the public. When the members attended a talk show in 2014, there talked about the famous “black ocean” moment from 2008. One thing you should know about Kpop fandoms is that they have a special colour and at their concerts fans hold up these lightsticks. For example, SNSD’s colour is ‘pink’, however, at that time as a form of protest the audience didn’t hold up their lightsticks or cheer for them.

The girls said this was upsetting for them, but they kept going! In 2009, they released their hit single, “Gee”, which was in a way a big breakthrough in their career. Their career skyrocketed from there and now they are known as the ‘Nation’s Girl Group’. Impressive, isn’t it?

SNSD had their ups and downs throughout the years, the biggest down was the departure of Jessica Jung in 2014. This was a big change for fans and the girls too, but SNSD and Jessica Jung seemed to have moved on and both parties have a successful career.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, SNSD released two songs, “Holiday” and “All Night” this week. Their promotion period for these two singles ends this week!

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How should I describe these two music videos? Oh, I know! Glitter, glitter and more glitter. The girls are having fun and literally partying in both music videos. “Holiday” is more upbeat, bright and funky. It is meant as a nod to the early days of their career and celebrating their Holiday aka their 10 year debut anniversary.

“All Night” tends to have a more mature theme, with a funky melody that makes want to find to most flashy clothes and go out to party. SM Entertainment also released a documentary version of “All Night” where all the member talk about how special SNSD to them and what these 10 years meant for them.

Congratulations Girl’s Generation on your 10 year anniversary!

See you soon with a tribute post about Chester Bennington!

 

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Twice – Knock, Knock

There is no doubt Twice is newest girl group to rise to popularity, in fact, they are often compared to South Korea’s favorite group, SNSD. Now, I am not going to compare them to SNSD, because they have their own unique charm.

Twice was formed by JYP Entertainment from the talent competition show, Sixteen. They debuted on October 20, 2015 with their hit song, “Ohh Ahh”, following this single the girls have released  hit after hit.

Their newest single, “Knock, Knock” was released on Sunday, February 19 and in just three days the music video hit 16 million views. It also topped the Melon, Genie, Bugs and Mnet, within eight hours. I think it’s safe to say they are sweeping up to charts in a heartbeat. The song is presented as a sequel to their previous single, “TT”.

In the music video, the girls are having slumber party  and being silly with their friends. When they see it’s snowing outside, they rush out to have a snowball fight, but quickly realize the door shut behind them, being locked out. They rush to go and knock on the door, hence where the sequel part comes into play. In the previous single, “TT”, two children turn around to a knock at the door.

This song has a catchy and cheerful chorus, with their new eye catching “knock, knock” dance. I already have this on replay, will you?

See you soon!

PS. I am hoping that very soon I will be back to posting on a regular basis, however I am thinking about whether to go back to what this blog used to be. I used to post about various topics, I am still figuring it out so I will let you know what happens as soon as possible.

 

Goodbye Wonder Girls

When I first got into Kpop, thanks to PSY, I was searching for other Kpop artists and I discovered Kara and Wonder Girls. These two girls groups led me to finding out more amazing Kpop musicians.

This week I woke up to the news I didn’t want to read, Wonder Girls are officially disbanding. I’ve heard and read rumors about their so called disbandment, but I disregarded it because they had a successful comeback. Why would a group disband if they did well? It was upsetting to read the news, especially when I’ve been listening to their music since 2012. That’s a long time.

For those of you who haven’t heard Wonder Girls, they are a South Korean girl group who debuted in 2007 with their album “The Wonder Years”. The original members of the group were Sunmi, Sohee, Sunye, Yeeun and Hyuna. Hyuna was not part of the group for too long, due to problems with chronic gastroenteritis and fainting spells. However, Hyuna ended up being part of another popular Kpop band, 4 Minute which also disbanded last year. Following Hyuna’s exit, in autumn 2007, the talent agency Good Entertainment sent their trainee Yubin to JYP Entertainment to replace Hyuna. Yubin made her debut in their popular music video, “Tell Me”.

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The original lineup! Yenny, Sohee, Sunye, Hyuna and Sunmi.
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Group lineup, after Hyuna’s departure! Yenny, Sunmi, Sohee, Sunye and Yubin.

Wonder Girls have quite a legacy in South Korea, they are known as one of the top girl groups in the Kpop industry, along with other legendary groups. Wonder Girls had a tremendous success, very quickly they began to release chart topping hits like “Tell Me”, “So Hot” and “Nobody”. They were unstoppable and ready tot take over the world with their music. In 2009, it was announced they would go and try to breakthrough the US music market. They debuted with an English version of their song, “Nobody” and recording a new album. In that same year, JYP announced Wonder Girls will be joining the Jonas Brothers on tour. Considering their successful career, there have been a number of member lineup changes. In 2010, Sunmi postponed her music career to pursue her academic career, it was not certain when she would return to JYP again. Following her departure, Hyerim (Lim) a JYP trainee was chosen as Sunmi’s replacement. The group continued to promote their music, while actively working in South Korea and America.

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Yenny, Sohee, Sunye, Yubin and Hyerim.

In 2012, Sunye announced she would be getting married in January 2013! JYP, the CEO of the JYP Entertainment announced the group would go on hiatus. Many fans feared the group will disband, but JYP reassured there was not such thing. On June 24, 2015, it was announced the Wonder Girls would be making a comeback as a band. Yet again, more lineup changes happened with Sunmi returning to the Wonder Girls and Sunye and Sohee ending their contracts with JYP Entertainment. On August 3 2015, they released their comeback album, “Reboot”. To this day this is one of my favorite albums by the Wonder Girls, with their 1980s inspired tunes. The girls took their talent one step further by learning to play an instrument, compose and write their own songs. “Reboot” was a successful album earning a number five spot of the Gaon Album Chart and number two on the Billboard World Albums. Following the success of the their previous album, the Wonder Girls released a new single, “Why So Lonely”, in the summer of 2016.

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Final member lineup. Yenny, Yubin, Hyerim and Sunmi.

Now it is time to say goodbye! There are many questions as to why the group is disbanding, some have stated it is because JYP invests more time and money to promote newer groups. Yubin and Hyerim have renewed their contacts, while Sunmi and Yenny did not. According to some reports, Sunmi and Yenni are meeting with new agencies to continue working as musicians and hopefully continuing their activities as the Wonder Girls. It’s not certain how that would work out, considering they might be with different companies. Nevertheless, I know they will do what’s best for them and their career.

We are saying goodbye to ten wonderful years with the Wonder Girls, they have left behind wonderful music and memories. I may have not followed them from their debut days, but I am happy I got to know them before their disbandment. The girls will be releasing their final single on February 10.

Good luck and thank you for everything Wonder Girls, you were wonderful! We will miss you.

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Top 20 Kpop Songs of 2016!

Hello everyone,

Wow, it sure has been a while since I’ve posted anything but life has been a little crazy lately. Luckily, it has slowed down a little bit, and I’ve been able to think of new content to write on my blog. I’ve missed writing on this blog and as you all know, this blog went through a lot of changes. Content changes, name changes and so much more. Being blogger is not as easy as you might think, but inspiration is finally striking me.

It is no secret that I love Kpop, I listen to it daily, that’s why I decided to write my yearly “Top 20 Kpop Song” post for this year. There were many great group who debuted, and other groups that rose to fame. The picks for this list are based on my personal preference, but sales, chart ratings, awards and more will be taken into consideration.

Enjoy!

20. Jessica – Fly

Not many people will include Jessica Jung’s comeback as part of this list, but I will because she deserves the recognition. Jessica Jung is a former SNSD member, who stated she was forced out of the group and SM Entertainment. It’s been a hard road for Miss Jung, but she rose to the top, debuting with a mini solo album and joining Coridel Entertainment. Her song “Fly” is about her struggles, and triumphing above the adversity. She sure did that and she is soaring high.

19. Fei – Fantasy

MISS A’s member Feimade her solo debut this summer with the sultry song “Fantasy”. We are seeing a brand new image of the Kpop star, this song could’ve been more popular, however was some controversy about Korean-Chinese relations that got in the way of this being a more successful single.

18. K.A.R.D – Oh, Na, Na

K.A.R.D is new group that debuted this month under DSP Media, the group is composed of four members: two girls and two guys. It is rare to see a mix gendered group in the Kpop World, but it is also so refreshing to see something new. They plan to release three project singles with hidden members (musicians from the agency), before they hold their official debut. “Oh, Na, Na” has already gained recognition and success with reaching millions of view shortly after releasing their song. In addition, they debuted number three on the US Kpop iTunes Chart, this is a group we have to look out for in 2017. They are just getting started!

17. Block B – A Few Years Later

This is a surprising change from the typical hip hop, bad boy image of Block B, I love the sentimental feeling from this song. This song is included on this list because I give recognition to bands that are willing to step out of their typical edgy image.

16. Astro – Hide & Seek

Astro debuted earlier this year and I refer to them as the male version of Gfriend, their single “Hide & Seek” is full of energy that won’t fail to cheer you up. They performed well on the music charts, and the public response towards their debut has been very positive. I can’t wait to see more.

 

15.  EXID – Lie

The title track “L.I.E” from their album “Street” has influences R&B, dance and hip-hop, with their typical catchy chorus. Their song won them four awards!

14. GOT7 – Fly

After having success in 2015, GOT7 came with more for us this year! “Fly” was another hit and it received four awards. Keep it up boys!

13. Taemin – Drip Drop

We can’t froget about this gem that was released earlier this year, Teamin is a modern day Michael Jackson. His dance performance in the MV is jaw dropping, and Taemin’s vocals are pretty great too.

12. Taeyeon – Why

Taeyeon has delivered soulful tracks, so it was about time to hear something more upbeat from her. “Why” is the summer song of 2016, this EDM inspired track peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Charts.

11. Ladies Code – Galaxy

Ladies Code made a brave comeback this year, after being absent from the music scene for a year and half. In September 2014, Ladies Code got into an accident that resulted in the deaths of  members EunB and Rise. That left the group with three surviving members. Their faith was uncertain because people didn’t know if they were ever going to come back. They showed their bravery by coming back with a brand new mini album and their song “Galaxy”. Throughout the music video there is constant symbolism becoming a  trio group. I have tremendous respect for these ladies, they are stronger and braver than ever. Watch out for them because they are a force to be reckoned with.

10. SHINee – Tell Me What To Do

SHINee is my favorite boy band and I love their evolution of style and music genre, this electro-pop track has an addictive melody and chill-inducing high notes.

9. I.o.I – Very, Very Very

I.o.I is a Korean pop girl group formed by CJ E&M Entertainment, through the reality TV show Produce 101 on Mnet. The group consists of eleven members who were chosen from a pool of 101 trainees from various entertainment companies. Lim Na-young, Kim Chung-ha, Kim Se-jeong, Jung Chae-yeon, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim So-hye, Yu Yeon-jung, Choi Yoo-jung, Kang Mi-na, Kim Do-yeon and Jeon So-mi debuted on May 4, 2016 with their mini-album “Chrysalis”, who are expected to release new music until they return to their respectful agencies. Their last single will be released in January 2017 without any promotions on music shows.I refer to them as a trial group, during this time they have gained tremendous popularity and success. Their song “Very, Very, Very” produced by JYP, won their first music show trophy as whole group. I wish the members all the best in their future endeavors in the Kpop scene.

8. Twice – Cheer Up

Twice, or as I like to call them, South Korea’s sweethearts have captured the hearts of fans all over the world. The group debuted in 2015 and they’ve had huge success since then, their song “Cheer Up’ has gone viral with it’s catchy ‘shy, shy, shy’ hook by Sana. The song has become a mega-hit and just wait until the chorus of the song, it is so catchy you’ll replay it over and over again.

7. Wonder girls – Why so lonely

Wonder Girls made a comeback this July as a band and a new inspired reggae-pop song, that was playing in everyone’s heads over and over again. They showcase versatility and trying a new mix of genres along with playing music instruments. Talk about a talent!

6. MAMAMOO – You’re The Best

Mamamoo are a vocal powerhouse, it’s an easy going and cheerful song, and after sweeping the charts with, “You’re The Best”, their name became more popular to the masses. This is one of their most popular songs, until the next one of course.

5. Zico ft. Crush and DEAN – Bermuda Triangle

Zico from the group Block B has proven he is a hit maker, his single “Bermuda Triangle ” peaked at number two on the music charts. Zico brings more attention to hip-hop music in the Korean Music Industry.

4. EXO – Monster

EXO are known for their catchy pop tunes, but this time with “Monster” we are introduced to something different. Starting the song with a dark, hip hop tune and dark edgy visuals, but once the chorus hits we are brought back to that pop music magic EXO can create.

3. Blackpink – Whistle

Blackpink debuted on August 8, 2016 under YG Entertainment, YG is considered one of the top three agencies along with SM Entertainment and JYP. The group consists of four members: Jisoo, Lisa, Rose and Jennie. BlackPink had a successful debut with their debut singles “Boombayah” and “Whistle”. Their music videos reached millions within weeks, they rose to popularity instantly and they already won many awards for their singles. Their win at Inkigayo broke a record for winning an award within 14 days of their debut. BlackPink release catchy music with powerful choreography, their song “Whistle”  landed a number 1 spot on the Korean and US World Music charts. “Whistle” also won them a Song of the Year at the Gaon Chart Kpop Awards, along with the Melon Popularity Award, the Mnet Best Music Video Award. Their music translates well into the Western music scene with countless of Western fans. They have a bright future ahead of them and I can’t wait to listen to more of their music.

2. Gfriend – Rough

A new generation of Kpop groups are debuting and Gfriend has secured a spot as one of the top new girl groups. Their song “Rough” has a beautiful dramatic and violin sound with a heartfelt vocal performance. “Rough” won  Gaon Chart Kpop Awards for Best New Song and many more. We look forward to find out what this talented group will do next in 2017.

1. BTS – Blood, Sweat and Tears 

Blood, Sweat and Tears is an accurate representation to show how hard BTS have worked to ensure they have a successful music career. Their hard work payed this year, BTS is rising to the top as fast as a space rocket. “Blood, Sweat and Tears” is emotional song with a melancholic sound, powerful vocals and choreography, with impressive visuals. I think they slayed this year and they rightfully deserve a number one spot on this list.

I can’t wait to see what Kpop will bring us in 2017, let me know in the comments below which are your top three Kpop song of 2016 🙂

See you all soon!

 

 

 

The Ugly Side of the Kpop Industry!

The world of Kpop is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, the colors, the fashion and the unique music concepts. Once you enter the world of Kpop, there is no going back because let face it, it is quite great to be part of the Kpop craze. However, there is much more to Kpop than fun and games! We tend to see Kpop stars always smiling and looking glamorous, but this wasn’t always the case for them. In fact, the journey to becoming a Kpop star is incredibly long and emotionally draining. So today, I wanted to take the time to sit down and write about the Kpop industry. I have learned all of this information from YouTube, from interviews with Kpop stars and online articles. If you were ever interested to see how someone can become a star in South Korea, this is the blog post for you.

In South Korea, there are three major entertainment agencies: SM Entertainment, JYP and YG.

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There are other entertainment agencies of course, such as Pledis, CUBE, DSP, Starship and many more. However, the first agencies I listed rank the highest among the others. If someone wants to become a Kpop star, they have to go through an audition process. When auditions are held, the participants are graded on their vocal and dancing abilities, having charisma is considered an asset as well. When participants pass their auditions, this does not mean they are on their way to stardom. The next step is training, also known as the trainee life. Some trainees are as young as ten years old, and transitioning out of that trainee life is extremely challenging. Below you can watch audition from YouTube of famous Kpop stars i.e. SNSD, Park Bom from 2ne1 and Taemin from SHINEE.

The trainee life time span varies from a few months, to a few years. This all depends on the abilities of the artist, the more you lack, the longer you train. There are some trainees who train for years and eventually they don’t debut at all. This is the sad reality for some people who aspire to become a Kpop star. Trainees also have a very strict schedule, they have to train vocally and improve their dancing skills. They also take language classes, because being multilingual or bilingual in the Kpop industry is considered an asset. For example, the Queen of Kpop, BoA, knows Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese. Knowing more than one language is important because it helps the artist make break through into the foreign music market. That is usually the goal of the entertainment companies. There are a lot of stories about the life of a trainee, and some stories are not positive. Plastic surgery is very popular among some Kpop stars, some trainees are told they need to undergo plastic surgery before debuting. The purpose of this is for trainees to look more “appealing” to the public. There is an obsession with looking perfect and acting perfect. Kpop idol, Suhyun from the duo group, AKMU shared a story on a KBS2 variety program Happy Together. According to her, CEO of YG Entertainment asked her, “For you Suhyun, how about getting a little touch up on your nose?” Following this question, Suhyun responded respectfully and firmly, “Not going to do it. President, I am already very thankful that I have two nostrils that I can breathe out of.”

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Suhyun on the TV show, “Happy Together”.

Way to go, she certainly knows how to handle herself in the industry and she is not letting the pressure influence her decisions!

Another problem in the Kpop industry is overworking the artists with an intense work schedule. Former, SM and EXO member, Tao, expressed his frustrations about his former company in an exclusive interview. In his interview, Tao talked about his trainee life, the busy schedule they had to abide by, whether they were sick or injured. Tao shared that SM staff used to encourage them to push through, even if they were ill or injured. To watch more of what Tao had to say, watch the video below.

Former SM trainee, Stella Kim, talked about her experiences of being told she needs to lose weight and go on crazy diets. Based on many examples that are covered in this post, it looks like the Kpop industry is highly focused on looks, therefore coming across as very superficial. This kind of treatment may tend to lead to many disorders, including emotional issues. To hear more of what Stella Kim had to say, take a look at her video below.

Most agencies control everything from whether the artists can date, to the type  of music the Kpop stars can release. These agencies typically come up with the concepts, lyrics and composition of the artist’s work, giving them little power over production process. However, there are instances where there is an exception.  Aside from this, it is said that Kpop Stars have the so-called slave contract. The Stars sign a contract for a number of years, however if you try to leave earlier, the agency will file a lawsuit. That has happened quite a bit of times recently, especially when Tao, Luhan and Kris from EXO left SM Entertainment before their contract expired. SM Entertainment filed a lawsuit against the three members, with Tao losing the battle. The lawsuit results against Luhan and Kris have not been released yet because nothing has been finalized. However, SM Entertainment were successful with their lawsuit against Tao. Another example of Kpop idols engaging in a legal battle with their agencies are Dong Bang Shin Ki. They took their management to court over their 13 year contract, claiming their didn’t get enough of the profit. The group won the lawsuit, resulting in  the Fair Trade Commission to bring into play a “model contract” to attempt to improve the deals that idols got from their management companies (information about this particular matter was gathered from http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/k-pop-slave-contracts-a-closer-look/). The reality of the Kpop industry is rather than focusing more on fair treatment of their artists, most of the time Kpop idols are used as a way for the companies to make profit. Behind the scenes, the Kpop industry is big hot mess, where idols are exploited. There are always exceptions, but there is no denying that the Kpop world can be rough and if you want to audition, do a throughout research of the industry.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this matter, so feel free to leave me a brief comment.

See you soon!

 

SOURCES

[http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/k-pop-slave-contracts-a-closer-look/]

[https://www.dramafever.com/news/what-was-akdong-musician-suhyuns-response-after-yg-recommended-she-get-a-nose-job/]

 

 

 

Music Monday! BlackPink – Whistle & Boombayah.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Music Monday! Today I bring to you yet again another Kpop music video, not one but two music videos. Today I want to introduce to you the newest girl group in South Korea, BlackPink.

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BlackPink was created by YG Entertainment and group debuted on August 8, 2016. The group consists of four members, Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa, who have been training for six years.The group debuted two singles,“Boombayah” a more hip hop inspired track with a slight influence of EDM during the chorus part of the song. The second single is “Whistle” with a minimal hip hop tune, that sounds more mellow. For a rookie group, they are doing incredibly well and won the hearts of many fans around the world. They also won their first award for their single, “Whistle”, at Inkigayo.

I think these girls have a bright future ahead of them and I’m looking forward to more music releases.

Enjoy and let me know which song you like the most!

See you soon!

 

Music Monday! F(x) – All Mine

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Life for me has been very busy lately, because I recently returned from a trip to the West Coast.

It was one of the best trips I’ve ever had and it was a much needed one too. My friend and I went on a road trip to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. You bet there was a lot of music playing in the car to keep us entertained.

Today I want to share one of my favorite songs from the road trip, of course it’s a Kpop song. The Korean pop group, F(x) released their single “All Mine” on July 22, 2016.

The music video was produced and edited by fellow group member, Amber. The music video features all four member holding a camera on their own, at an individual setting. The music video feels more intimate and down to Earth, without the high-end production value. Nowadays, that’s more to my liking because it feels more natural and simple.
The song is a funky EDM inspired track, which is part of SM Entertainment’s new feature, SM Station. SM Station releases more EDM inspired tracks, and as a EDM fan this is a major A+ in my books. “All Mine” is wonderful song with a cheerful upbeat tune, that’ll make get up and dance. This is officially my summer song of 2016!

What’s yours? Tell me in the comments box below and don’t forget to tell me if you like this song 🙂

Thank you for stopping by my blog, make sure you go to visit my lifestyle blog to read about my travelling adventures.

https://wordpress.com/plans/dailytalkweb.wordpress.com ← my lifestyle blog!

See you soon with a much anticipated photography post!