Weekend Playlist: K-pop for K-Town, Part II
안녕하세요, everybody, and welcome back to another installment of the Weekend Playlist with a Lovely Korean Twist! That’s right, I’m back and better than ever. In case you missed the first one, you’re welcome. This installment has some great new features, including (but not limited to) – Double the strong feelings about biases! Five times the dance intensity! Cool, new hairstyles that’ll have you screaming “WOW, FANTASTIC BABY!” And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite- a guaranteed, officially recorded 20043803 more slow motion zoomed shots of assorted female body parts!
In all seriousness, I’ve got some good stuff for you today. Hold onto your britches, buster, because it’s about to get WILD in here.
- EXID – Up & Down (위아래)
EXID has an amazing history. This past August, they came out with Up & Down, and it completely flopped. After experiencing massive disappointment and being in a pretty bad place, this happened. Fancams are popular in K-pop, with people recording their biases live and posting it online for others to see. However, this fancam went viral (obviously for some skeevy reasons, I’ll admit, but it’s a happy ending nevertheless). Then, and this is absolutely unheard of in the K-pop industry, months after EXID had stopped promoting Up & Down the song rocketed to the top of the charts, and they were invited again to perform on Korea’s popular weekly music shows, several of which they won. In my opinion they deserve every ounce of fame they get. My bias in the group: I can’t pick one. They are all freaking amazing. Solji has a formidable set of pipes, LE is a killer rapper and writes almost all of their songs (and other groups’ songs, both of which are very rare), Hani is extremely beautiful, etc. Also check out: their new single “Ah Yeah” (an interesting criticism of censorship in Korean media), and their other hit song “Every Night“.
- Fiestar – You’re Pitiful (짠해)
I love Fiestar (their name is a combination of “fiesta” and “star”). I would argue they are probably the most underrated female group in K-pop today. They aren’t particularly popular, but their music has only been getting better and better. They also had an amazing debut song, which is a rarity (most debut songs/stages end up being pretty tragic, since the idols are nervous and inexperienced). This single, You’re Pitiful, is from their stunning new mini-album, Black Label. My bias: a tie between Jei and Yezi (the rapper). Also check out: their controversial single One More, which is a total jam, and So Tight, also from Black Label.
- BTS (Bangtan Boys) – War of Hormone (호르몬 전쟁)
BTS is cool. They’ve done a great job of maintaining their intimidating public image as a group while being absolute sweethearts individually and appealing to the masses. War of Hormone is a little… angry? Angsty? I don’t know, but it’s still really catchy. My bias: Rap Monster (he’s the blonde one who does the first verse in the song). Rap Mon has also done some awesome solo projects and collaborations lately.
- 2NE1 – I Am The Best (내가 제일 잘 나가)
You requested it in the comments last time, so here they are. BTS may have been cool, but 2NE1 is REALLY cool. They are one of the most popular and successful female K-pop groups ever, and they’ve got the talent and personality to back it up. This track is particularly fierce. My bias: CL, The Baddest Female. She speaks fluent English, and is currently managed by Scooter Braun, with plans for an upcoming English album that she’ll promote in the US! She’s already collaborated with Skrillex and Diplo, and was received pretty well, so let’s hope she can be the first (successful) K-pop crossover! (Besides Psy… but we don’t speak of him around here…)
- IU – Good Day (좋은 날)
Ahhh, yes. What would a good K-pop playlist be without Korea’s Little Sister, IU. She’s an absolute superstar, and with good reason, too. Her voice is ridiculously amazing. Need convincing? Skip to about 4:43 in the video above to witness the eternally famous “3 Octave High Note” (it’s not actually 3 octaves, it’s 3 semitones, but people call it that anyways, just go with it). Still don’t believe it? How about all the times she absolutely slaughtered those notes live? How about the fact that she released this song when she was 17? Now that she’s a bit older, she’s not exactly the Nation’s Little Sister anymore, and has worked to shed that image. But man, this song is so catchy and IU is just very impressive.
And for the finale…
- Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Mr.Mr.
SNSD is objectively the most popular, successful, and famous K-pop group, male or female, of all time. There’s no question about that. Not that this is necessarily proof of that, but it’s still interesting how they beat One Direction, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, etc. for Video of the Year at the Youtube Music Awards in 2013 for their iconic I Got a Boy music video. While I’m not always a huge huge fan of theirs, I can definitely jam to this song. My bias: Hyoyeon, the amazing dancer in the middle of the triangle formation during the dance break at 2:42, and can also be seen with blue hair here and here in SNSD’s latest single.
And there you have it! Hopefully that’ll be enough to get you through the weekend. But if you’re like me, and you can never get enough K-pop, here’s a little bonus.