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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Kpop Top 10 List!

This is the time of the year to look back and recap top moments in popular culture. However, in this case we will look back and list the top 10 Kpop songs of 2015.

Let’s get started!

  1. SNSD – Lion Heart.

Last year was rough for SNSD with the drama between Jessica Jung and SM Entertainment. Jessica left the group, claiming she was kicked out, that made fans worry about SNSD’s future. Not need to worry, they came back stronger than ever with three chart smashing hits. Second place goes SNSD’s Lion Heart, winning multiple awards and landing a number one spot on the Korean and U.S. Music charts. I guess the SNSD are unstoppable no matter what they go through.

 

2. Big Bang – Bang Bang Bang

We got showered with Big Bang music this year and not only that, but they also went on a worldwide tour too. Since they released so many songs, it was hard to pick one for this list. However, I decided to pick the one that stood out to me. That song was “Bang Bang Bang”, Big Bang have this way of introducing a new song and having listeners think to themselves “I’m not sure I like it so much”. After giving it another chance, it become one of those songs that you cannot stop replaying for days.  The song peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Charts.

3. 4Minute – Crazy

I think I speak for all us Kpop fans when I say the 4 Minute’s song “Crazy” was on replay for weeks. That first beat drop sucks you in and there is no going back. We all knew Hyuna can be edgy, but the other members showed they go a spunk too. For me this is the best musical concept from 4Minute, the black and white graphics and edgy outfits put it all together. That’s why “Crazy” is at number three.

4. Taeyeon – I

Fans got excited when they found out Teayeon’s SNSD will be debuting her first official solo single. Her song “I” is very different from the typical Korean Pop music, it has a soulful and mature sound. Less of the cutesy image is about time because let’s face it, SNSD member are in their late 20s, time for a change. We all know Taeyeon has powerful vocals, but this song showcases them more. Her song “I” received countless of awards and the song also debuted to number one. I look forward to more solo songs from Taeyeon.

5. GOT7 – If You Do

Oh GOT7, they can pull of the baby face image, but with their recent single “If You Do” they present a new mature side of them. This song about a breakup, and it describes how frustrated and angry the boys feel. Their dancing, emotion is channeled out well in the video. For me personally, this is their best video of 2015, this single also ranked number one on the iTunes charts.

 

6. Wonder Girls – I Feel You.

I didn’t anticipate a Wonder Girls comeback anytime soon, but when I read they are making a comeback as a band, I got excited. The girls made their comeback as a four member group, with Sohee and Sunye leaving the group to pursue other en devours. Unlike SNSD, there are no hard feelings between the girls and they still keep in touch. The girls released their first single in three years, “I Feel You”, with a 80s inspired concept. Even thought the single didn’t debut number one on the music charts, it still debuted in the top 5 spot. I give these girls huge credit for dedicating their time to learn a brand new instrument and performing live. Wonder Girls also composed majority of the music on their album “REBOOT” and has written most of the lyrics on this album. Good job girls, you dedication and hard work shows!

7. EXO – Love Me Right

EXO had some controversy last year with their member Kris, leaving the group. Later on two more member left EXO, Luhan and Tao! When a member leaves from a Kpop band, especially if they are under the management of SM Entertainment, it could be quite controversial. However, the group continues to push forward and release new content to make their fans happy. Their song “Love Me Right” debuted at number one in Korea, and broke the record for the biggest sales week for a Kpop artist.

8. Seventeen – Adore U

Seventeen debuted earlier in the year and they are definitely worth the mention because they are might be the newest and biggest sensation in Kpop. This group consists of thirteen member, yes you read that right! The group is divided into three teams: performance, vocals and hip-hop unit. The logistics behind these Kpop groups can be complicated, but try to keep up. What makes this group special is the member are actively involved in the composition and production of their own music, as well as their choreography. Their debut album debuted number one and they were name one of the most promising newcomer group in the Kpop world. I couldn’t agree more, their debut song “Adore U” has a sweet, bubbly pop sound with great choreography. I can’t wait to see how they evolve in the near future!

9. BTS – I Need U

BTS released three songs this year, but I decided to pick their first single of 2015, “I Need U”. This band debuted in 2013 and they are quickly became more well-known in the Korean Music scene. The music video for “I Need U” has a dramatic concept with strong dance perfromance skill from the members. This single is an important one in their career because it won first place on SBS MTV’s The Show for the first time since their debut. BTS is proving how great they can be, and they continue to deliver with each single. They have a bright future ahead of them!

10. SHINEE – Married To The Music

SHINEE celebrated their 7 year anniversary since their debut, they released a successful new album “Odd”. My favorite song from the album is “View”, but “Married To The Music” deserve a mention on our list. “Married To The Music” is a “Thriller” inspired track with a wacky music video that brought Halloween a little bit earlier. This top 10 track with its unique mix of genres marks the best kinds of Kpop tracks.

Thank you all for reading, if you are Kpop fan let me know which song is to your liking! Happy New Year and I look forward to another great year of music!

See you soon!

 

 

 

 

Wonder Girls/REBOOT Album Review!

JYP AND THE WONDER GIRLS, we are back!

This is the opening message of their first single “I Feel You” since their three year hiatus from the K-pop music scene. Fans are rejoicing from the return of the Korean Pop legends, Wonder Girls. The group is composed of four members, Lee Sunmi (bass guitar), Kim Yubin (drums), Woo Hyelim (guitar) and Park Yeeun (piano). The group debuted as a dance group in 2007, but three years ago fellow member Yubin, approached her managed with the request to learn to play an instrument. Now each member plays an instrument and they released their 80s inspired album. The group has always been known for their retro image and music concepts, but this time they are making a serious comeback.  If you’ve been feeling nostalgic about the 80s, this will cure your 80s blues. REBOOT differs from other K pop artists’ releases because the girls introduce a new concept, they play instruments and they also composed/wrote their own songs.

It has been a long time since I liked an album from start to finish and this one is on replay since its release day. Each single brings diversity and nothing sounds the same! The album has twelve tracks:

1. Baby Don`t Play
2. Candle (Feat. Paloalto)
3. I Feel You
4. Rewind
5. Loved
6. John Doe
7. One Black Night
8. Back
9. OPPA (오빠)
10. 사랑이 떠나려 할 때 (Faded Love)
11. 없어 (GONE)
12. 이 순간 (Remember) 

This album is a mix of different genres such as pop, synthpop and R&B, including the diversity of instrumental composition that produces addictive catchy songs. A key signature sounds that are present in many songs throughout this album are drone cords and the synth/keyboard keyboard that would play different chords over the top of a bass note. REBOOT will also showcase new talents of members who will surprise their fans with rapping verses in songs such as “Back” and “OPPA.”  The vocal work throughout the album is confident and expressive of the emotion in each song. An example of a soulful and expressive vocal work can be heard in song such as “Gone” and “Remember.” The job of an artist is to make you feel the happy and sad emotion when listening to a song, the Wonder Girls have done a fabulous job channeling out this aspect in the tracks from the album.

REBOOT brings something new and fresh to the Korean music scene, the Wonder Girls have completely revamped themselves into something more advanced. The group now has the flexibility to choose their own sound and create their own music. The instrumental work for this album stands out and the instrumental accompaniments are rhythmic and engaging. With this album the Wonder Girls can be accepted in the Western music industry, considering how similar it sounds to 80s Western music. REBOOT has a big potential for commercial success!

This is by far is the best comeback and album from the Wonder Girls, this album receives a well deserved 9/10!

Here is a preview of each song from the album and you can support the Wonder Girls by purchasing their new album on iTunes.

Thank you very much for reading and stay tuned for more music reviews!

See you soon!

Music Monday! Wonder Girls – I Feel You.

I didn’t think their comeback would come to us so soon, but the Wonder Girls are back!

The Wonder Girls are back as a four member group, with two original members (Sohee, Sunye) officially leaving the group.  JYP Entertainment released a statement, that the girls left on good terms and discussed this decision with the current members.

The build up to their comeback began with JYP Entertainment releasing  individuals teasers. The famous K-pop group is known as dance group, but now they are transformed into a band, with each member playing an instrument. Each teaser is of the members playing an instrument, Lee Sunmi (bass guitar), Kim Yubin (drums), Woo Hyelim (guitar) and Park Yeeun (piano). In an interview with JYP Entertainment’s founder J.Y. Park, he stated that the reason the girls learned to play musical instruments is to allow more room for creativity.

“You can compose a song even if you can’t play any instruments, especially since the 2000’s when writing melodies and lyrics on a pre-made track became a popular form of making music.

But it limits your creativity since you’re writing to a track you didn’t make. So learning an instrument and basic music theory enables you to create your own track which means there’s absolutely no limit to your creativity.

That’s why the Wonder Girls learned their own instruments, not only to perform on stage but to create their own musical colour and it clearly shows on this album.

I’m so proud of them and their new album!” J.Y. Park

I agree with the statement completely, when you learn to play an instruments it allows you to create your own music and you have more freedom.

After a three year hiatus, the girls are back with their 80s inspired single, “I Feel You”, the song will take you back in time to the 80s. The tune, instrumentals, outfits and vocal work really makes you feel like it’s the 80s and not the 2010s. The single has become an instant hit in South Korea since its release on August 2, 2015, there is no doubt the girls will dominate the charts! Their studio album “Reboot” is released on August 3, 2015, with majority of the lyrics and lyrical composition created by the members. In the K-pop industry, it is usually the management company that decides the concept of music videos, writing the music and lyrics for the artists. Now The Wonder Girls have the freedom to decide how to present themselves and share their originality, so for that I give them a standing ovation.

Today I will be sharing their comeback single, and please listen to their albums as well because it is incredible.

Enjoy!

See you soon!

The World of K-POP!

Hello everyone,

For those people who know me, they will tell you that music is my passion and also that I am a huge culture lover. I am very open to other culture’s traditions, movie and most of all music. For me personally, music is a universal language and it doesn’t matter of the song is in English or another language. Music is still music! Today I decided to write about K-POP and share some interesting facts about this genre of music.

My interest in K-POP was sparked when I first heard PSY’s mega hit “Gangnam Style” this is a fun upbeat song that brings something new to mainstream music. I wanted to see for myself what else K-POP has to offer and I was pleasantly surprised that K-POP is a very catchy and unique genre. However, before I begin  telling you all about  the wonderful musicians in the K-POP world, I decided to give you a brief history lesson about this genre. I will mainly focus on modern day K-POP, rather than write about K-POP from the 80s and 90s.

K-POP is a genre of music that originally began in South Korea and there are three major K-POP management agencies: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. These agencies are responsible for recruiting, training  and promoting these new bands and ensure they become successful. K-POP is a mix of pop, rock, hip-hop, r&b and electronic music. K-POP artists are called idols and they go through auditions and then through training before going out in the spotlight. K-POP is predominantly represented by boy and girl groups and there are approximately 60 Korean groups.

The image and key characteristics of these bands are highly produced , including synchronized choreography, catchy tunes and the very popular pretty boys and girls image who are mainly young. Since these groups have multiple members, the singers often have to switch positions while dancing and singing in order to provide synchronization on stage, this is called “formation changing”. K-POP girl groups go for the more girly and cutesy image. Not all girl groups strive  for the cutesy image, but majority of them are known for being cutesy.

K-POP music videos have great visuals, they are very colorful and special and effects are incorporated! I would describe some K-POP music videos as eccentric, the reason why I call them this is because they have a lot happening in one video and sometimes it is very over the top. For instance, in the “Gangnam Style” video there is the beach scene where a child dances next to PSY, scene where PSY is at the sauna, being inside a bus where elderly women dance along, the famous elevator scene, the subway scene and then concluding the video with everyone dancing. A lot is happening in this video and it is very different and unusual from the typical American pop music videos, but this is what makes it interesting and appealing. K-POP offers something fresh, unique and new to the world of mainstream music and I think it is great that K-POP is getting recognized as a unique genre.

Fashion is also an important aspect in the world of K-POP, musicians wear bright colors, eye catchy accessories and in some cases eccentric pieces of clothing. The K-POP 2ne1 are known for wearing eccentric clothing in their music videos i.e. “Follow Me” or “I Am The Best”.

SNSD are a popular girl group in Korean and one of the girls that have the cutesy image.
2ne1 are known for having unique visuals in their music videos, as it is seen here in the their music video “I Am The Best”.
Super Junior performing on stage. Dance sequence and formation changing.
Wearing colorful clothes and unique fashion is also an important aspect of K-POP and it helps to increase their fan base. This girl group is called Kara!

Groups and musicians that started to get recognition in the States are Boa, Wonder Girls, Big Bang, 2ne1 and of course PSY.

 

 

Boa is huge K-POP solo artist in Japan and she is fluent in Japanese, Chinese and English, she is considered the Korean Janet Jackson/Britney Spears. She released her self-titled American debut album in 2009 and her single “Eat You Up” landed a #9 spot on the Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Wonder Girls

                  

Wonder Girls made their debut in the States with their song “Nobody” which they performed for the first time on “So You Think You Can Dance” and they were also an opening act for the Jonas Brothers in 2009. In 2011 they returned to Korea and in 2012 they came back and recorded a track with Akon called “Like Money”


2ne1

 

2ne1 is another Korean band that worked with producer will.i.am and it said that 2ne1 will make their debut in the United States in 2013. The band was also praised by New York Times saying that their concert at the Prudential Center in New Jersey was considered one of the best concerts of 2012. This a huge compliment for a band that is not well known, which means that 2ne1 might have a bright future ahead of them in the mainstream music world.

Big Bang

 

Another band that’s getting recognized is Big Bang which is a very popular boy band in Korea and they won an award for Best World Act at 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gradually K-POP is making its way into the mainstream market and I definitely think there is something special about this genre of music. It offers mainstream music more variety and the unique talent of new musicians, I am excited to see how many K-POP groups will become well known. Music is indeed a universal language, I have no idea what K-POP artists are singing about, but that won’t stop me from listening more songs. I see a bright future for the K-POP genre.

I want to share some K-POP music videos of some popular groups, as well as some of my favorite songs. Enjoy!

MUSIC VIDEOS

See you soon!