Tag Archives: Block B

Kpop for Noobcakes 10 Best MVs of 2014

It’s no secret that Kpop suffered heavy losses this past year. The entire country collectively mourned for 3 weeks, leaving many schedules canceled and new releases pushed back. While I didn’t listen to them, the Ladies Code crash rippled to all parts of kpop, and other stars went through injury. Lastly, many prominent kpop stars pushed back against their contracts, switching companies or all together leaving the Kpop scene. Yet I found I was at no shortage of fabulous songs, and like last year, I had to cut songs from the honorable mentions section, let alone the top 10. So without further ado, I give you the music videos that I thought were the best this year. Scoring is biased towards the song, but the video also has a heavy weight to how high the song is placed on the list. Cultural relevance and years in the industry also have an impact on how well the song scores.

10. TVXQ- Spellbound

This year has been a fantastic one for swing, and the trend started with TVXQ on the first of the year when they came out with “Something”. “Spellbound” is the even better follow up to their first song of the year, adding a Vegas style flair to the “One shot” box style video that SM is known for. One thing that particularly impressed me about the video is that the backup dancers actually interacted with the camera instead of trying to blend in.

9. F(x)- Red Light

I rather liked the dark styling in this video and the almost round like song. It was an extremely different and memorable song. The draw backs to it were the lack of a climax and how loud the background layering comes through on headphones. It wasn’t mixed as well as I would have liked. All of the ladies were styled well to their personalities and the stylist left behind the usual Katamari ball of weird accessories.

8. Purfles 1,2,3

The first of several rookies on my list, Purfles took their solid harmonies to the bank on this club style Kpop song. Their name is kinda dumb, and their company is small so their distribution is limited, but I advise you to actively promote these girls and the other rookies on this list. All of the groups feature strong vocals, something I feel we need more of in Kpop. Purfles are still working on reaching cohesion live, but if their introduction video tells me one thing, its that their vocal talent may be rough, but its real. Also workout sections of songs are my soft spot, not to mention that her boxing was actually decent.

7. 2ne1- Come Back Home

This is the song I arguably have the most bias with. 2ne1 is my favorite band, and I identify as Blackjack when asked by another Kpop purveyor. This song sits at number 7 because is a slightly above average song with amazing production value. The song does not reach the level of quality I expect from 2ne1, but I spent weeks watching nothing but this music video. It looks gorgeous and has a story worth unraveling.

6. Kiss & Cry- Domino Game

Can we have more trumpet please in songs? The Latin flare and beat is so good in this Kpop song and the dance follows suit. The vocals are very strong, although whether the strong vocals continue after the loss of a member remains to be seen… its not for certain that the group will even be making a comeback. I hope that even if they do not make it back, that more rookie groups will be following in their style, strong vocals, strong image, strong dancing. Strong is sexy.

5. EXO K- Overdose

I think this song slammed its way onto my list because I (wrongly) attribute it to bringing back Kpop. It was the first song to be released after the ferry accident, and I was grateful to them. The ferry tragedy affected me like it did other Kpop fans, but it also occurred during my student teaching and I felt the tragedy a little differently as a teacher myself. Kpop was my way to bring me out of my funk and I was very happy when news of an EXO comeback came my way. Usually I like the M version of the song better, but for this release, I think the K version is much stronger.

4. Block B- Her

Block B’s move to Seven Seasons seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the group. While the lines really aren’t balanced anymore, it seems like Zico having a greater hold of creative control on the group has allowed the members to make videos that adhere to their sense of humor. In addition to that, the songs sound different, and that’s not only musical styling. Zico’s writing doesn’t rely on the same tropes that other pop songs seem to use, and so the words sound different than the typical “saranghae” nonsense. I would love to see more releases from them, or even subunit work.

3. Taeyang et ala- Eyes Nose Lips cover project

By itself, “Eyes, nose, lips” is a simple but forgettable ballad. The original song was well sung, and while Taeyang was shirtless for the entirety, the shooting never focused on what he looked like. Here is the original:

YG did a very smart thing with this song and allowed other artists on their label to reinvent the song in their style, bringing out the cover project. The first is the brother sister duo AKMU, who did the song in a soft spring-like indie style.

The second was the English rap ballad version done by Tablo of Epik High. Taeyang sings the bridge on this version in English. The lyrics are decent; listen to this one carefully.

The third and final YG cover is by Lydia Paek, a choreographer under YG. Her cover is a English Ballad. Lydia is formerly of Quest Crew, a dance crew based out of LA, so her English is very accurate and slang infused.

Lastly, while he is not under YG, Eric Nam, a Kpop artist born in Georgia did a verbatim English translation of Taeyang’s original song.

Now all of these songs separately would not be enough to make it onto the list, but together the concept of “Eyes, Nose, Lips” is enough to make it to the third spot on the list.

2. Mamamoo- Piano Man

This song nearly became my number one song of the year. Mamamoo debuted at the beginning of this year, but they seemed to be on very few Kpop fan’s radar. This song however, is a brilliant use of their vocal talents to deliver swing music that uses excellent piano that was clearly live recorded for the song. The video evokes a 1920’s speakeasy, and each idol is cast as a different person inside the club. What is even more spectacular than the video is the live performance, which not only sounds exactly like the recording, but every single performance version differs from the others. They do a different action or add a different flavor sentence to the blank spaces of the song. It gives the viewer a reason to sit through all the live versions to find the differences. It also shows how talented these girls are, to remember which version is happening at which show. There are at least a dozen live performances, and if you like this song even slightly, I encourage you to watch a live version… or two… or 8.

1. Spica- You Don’t Love Me

Do I even have to explain? I hope the 3 rookie groups mentioned on this list this year reach the vocal prowess that Spica just is. The styling of the video uses a lot of 40’s and 50’s makeup, hair and outfits, and while this is a box video, they actually interact with the set, to hilarious fashion at the end of the song. Their take on the use of butt padding in the industry is amusing as hell and the whole thing is quite frankly perfect. The only issue I’ve ever had with it has been the English translation of the song being not quite as girl power as the video is, but since I can’t speak Korean, it’s not really an appropriate complaint, nor would it change the spot on the list if I added that problem into the equation.

At the end of every list, I add five slots for videos that didn’t quite make it on the list. As for my honorable mentions:

1. Everything that Orange Caramel touched this year. Seriously, they had Catellena and My Copycat for main songs which both had awesome videos. They had a great commercial video for Baskin Robbins called Abing Abing, and my personal favorite Gangnam Avenue. If I liked their group concept even a tiny bit more than I do, any one of these songs could have been on the list.

2. High4 and IU- Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms. This was huge in Korea, especially because they really like seasonally themed music. This is the first time I really enjoyed a song centered around the start of spring and how the writer did not want to have to deal with love blossoming.

3. Kara- Mamma Mia. I was pleasantly surprised with this song; I was worried with the loss of 2 members that Kara was not going to fair well. This song was really good.

4. Masta Wu ft. Dok2 & Bobby- Come here. It’s a guilty pleasure to be honest. I liked the stripped out mixing and I’m rather a fan of the flow of all the members featured. I have no idea what they’re saying and I think if I did I probably wouldn’t like it as much as I do. I’m trying to stay blissfully ignorant.

5. Got7- A. As you may be able to see by my lists, I enjoy female groups far more than male groups, because I like their singing a lot more. What carries this song is the video, especially the dancing and the humor used and how sometimes they intertwine the two. It’s also pretty damn catchy considering most of the chorus is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYEEEEEEE.

Hoping for a good 2015 for Kpop. Have a happy New Year everyone.
❤ Rebecca

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Saranghae: Block B’s “Her”

Is there anything better than a kpop band who’s leader writes and produces their own songs? Since the lawsuit with their former entertainment company, Block B has become synonymous with the word authentic when it comes to kpop entertainers in my mind. This latest video is Block B’s way of taking on the aegyo concept and smashing it out of the park with pure ridiculous.

You too can dye your hair and clothes with the power of ridiculous for one lowwwwwww payment.
You too can dye your hair and clothes with the power of ridiculous for one lowwwwwww payment.

The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was the cut in the music to go to the fake variety show, but the only reason I didn’t like it is because I don’t like cuts in the music for music videos. The idea that they were trying to show at the end was that there are really three Block Bs. There’s the idols, the performers and the musicians, and the latter two want to be taken more seriously than the former. They’re goofballs but they’re real musicians and don’t forget it. Or Zico will go aegyo on your ass.

Hey Zico Zico ni, let me high five you in the face. See even the subtitles know what you're about.
Hey Zico Zico ni, let me high five you in the face. See even the subtitles know what you’re about.

All in all, this is the type of Kpop video I want. Sexy is sexy, but hilarity trumps that any day.

 ❤ Rebecca

Kpop for Noobcakes 10 Best Kpop Videos of 2013

Now when I start this list, I want to let everyone know that I’m basing it on the full package, the song and the video. Otherwise “Recipe” by Brown Eyed Girls would have taken all 10 slots and I wouldn’t have a blog post.

Kpop doesn’t fit well into a list this small. It would probably be easier to compile a list of 40 videos than it is to talk about 10. What get’s hard is determining what goes where in the list. My list is very personal, and it’s as much about my personal tastes as it is the quality of the song or video. For example, “Rum Pum Pum” was a sleeper hit for me, but I don’t feel like it impacted my Kpop viewing experience as much as these songs did. A band could have put out a song that I rather enjoyed from the start, like “Gone not around any longer”, but didn’t really have that lasting quality. Some songs were good, but over hyped, and felt like a let down. Others are just perennially outside of my taste no matter how decent the song is.

So what did I think were the top 10 Kpop Videos of the Year?

10. “I’ve got a Boy” by Girl’s Generation

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if this was going to make the list. The song has a musical type feel to it, which I actually like, but I’m not a fan of the bridge. The video looks like they took F(x)’s item collection, dipped it in rainbows and unicorns then rolled GG in it. Is no bueno. But I love the dance. It’s sexy without being butt shaking and all sorts of other “hey look at my body parts” dance moves, in that all the dance moves have power to them.. If the video was styled the same way they danced, it would be fantabulous. What really won me over was the talking piece. Without changing their image (something that GG really needs, mind you) they changed their sound to something that spread well outside of kpop, on to the youtube front page, into the best video slot and traveled on to the Time’s best singles of 2013 list. I could ask friends about what they thought of the song artistically and actually have a conversation about the musical piece stylistically. Any song that allows me to bleed my Kpop life into my everyday life deserves to be in the top songs of the year.

9. “While You’re Sleeping” by JeA

Leave it to JeA and Nega Network to put music first. I was completely in love with Recipe, but that had no video, and I wasn’t as starstruck by Kill Bill as the rest of the Ksphere was. This song had both the elements of a good song and video. The video was minimalistic, allowing the viewer to view the singer as the instrument and let the focus be on the sound, rather than the visuals. Excellent.

8. “Be the Light” by Block B

Decent song, much better when you consider that Block B was crumbling the previous year because of statements and a shitty entertainment company. Also that they’re a RAP group. What clinched it for me, was when my Korean friend heard me listening to it when it came out and had a conversation about how decent the lyrics were. Apparently, when Zico writes, its not trite. It’s hard for me to appreciate, but I’m glad to listen to words that aren’t always some conjugation of love. On top of that, me and other kpop fans have been interpreting the video as BB getting the snot beaten out of them by their old entertainment company, and the women are the fans that receive the collateral damage. It might not mean that, but since meaning is in the interpretation, I think that’s not a far reach.

7. “Dream Girl” by Shinee

The video where SM proves they can, in one video, make a non boring in a box video and provide an applicable context for their random ass styling. I really like the sound of the song (save the annoying ass bleeps that were added for effect in the video), since it requires a level of singing and depth present in few other songs in Kpop. The dance isn’t quite on par with “Everybody” but I like that they chose to dance with the mic stands. It was all together a different Shinee song, and I rather liked it.
Also, they are all very good looking. Just saying.

6. “Miss Korea” by Lee Hyori

This was certainly the way to get introduced to Lee Hyori. Generally all I heard was that she was Kpop’s ‘sliced bread’, but I never knew what songs were so influential or the like. Hyori comes out with a single, and it’s simple. Cool, I was expecting that based on what I had heard. What I was not expecting was a confident star that makes a video that sends a message and brings more meaning to her song lyrics (which I felt compelled to look up after I watched the video).  Lastly, she acts her age. That shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is, but it’s Kpop. 30 is like death. Hyori is 34.

5. “Hurricane” by B.A.P.

Addicting. Seriously. The beat is phenomenal.  The video makes decent use of the location, and has some decent shots and dancing moments. What makes this song is the Engrish. This was the only song I could blast in my college lounge and everyone would yell “We hurricane” during the chorus. My friends would light their loofs on fire. It suckered non kpop fans with the ridiculous pronunciation and kept them there with the excellent production. Done deal.

4. “What’s going on?” by B1A4

Also translating into “What’s happening”, this song is the perfect example of my own personal bias towards a group. I thought this group was full of teenyboppers and ridiculous. I wanted no part of it. Apparently I can take ridiculous if it’s beheading mannequins with a pillow. Also, the song isn’t called Beautiful Target. That helps.
But seriously, there’s not a part of this song and video I don’t like. Even the Japanese version is something for me to watch, with all the ridiculousness and a more succinct and feminist message. This is how you do a box video.

3. “24 Hours” by Sunmi

Funny that the Wonder Girl that left years ago is the only Wonder Girl really in the game right now. I went in to this song having no expectations and came out surprised. I loved the look, with the bare feet and leotards. I thought the white and black imagery was really great, how as she got more involved with this shady dude, the clothing got darker.  While the tango section wasn’t the greatest (for me), I understood it’s importance musically and in the video as the turning point. And I loved what they did where they rewound time. I thought it was very clever, all around.

2. “U & I” by Ailee

I’m happy to say this Kpop powerhouse is from my home state. I think we can claim this victory for New Jersey. U&I was the perfectly balanced soulful track that “I’ll show you” tried to be and fell short. The video had some great images, including the only band that I actually believe that knows how to play their instruments in the video (I’m looking at you SNSD). Honestly, Ailee is the perfect balance stuck between the soulfulness of Lee Hi, the cuteness of SNSD and the confidence of 2ne1 or Lee Hyori, and I really like where she’s at. Fingers crossed for an English album.

1. “Wild” by Nine Muses

If sultry-ness was all it took to get the top spot on my list, After School or Girl’s Day would be sitting in this place. This song was perfectly balanced with the video, with piano elements in the soft sections and electronic sounds powering through the chorus. The raps were decent, the melody something belonging in an Anime opening. And the video. You can’t go wrong with 9 models posing in lingerie, shot in black and white with the red elements added back in. What they do with the rose is just exceptional, and I find that all of the girls are wearing outfits that suit their charms perfectly. What makes this exceptional is that all of the girls appear confident, even the ones who are portraying a more shy and coy type of lady. The coat drop and the cape swing are gifs that should live on in infamy. I dare SNSD to attempt something even half this good. We might break Kpop then.

5 Honorable mentions:

Hyde by Vixx– The song caught me off guard. Rather enjoyable, especially the dance.
Gotta Talk to U by Seungri– Seungri, how did you outshine the rest of the YG cast?
Ringa Linga (Dance version) by Taeyang– The regular video was meh compared to this great dance video. Well done.
All Day I think About You by 2PM– The song is decent. The visuals are on some 9muses level shit. Colab?
Bar Bar Bar by Crayon Pop– You want to talk different in Kpop? Listen to this. Starts out annoying, ends up refreshing?

There were other songs I enjoyed that are not on this list. Have your own list or a song choice to dispute with me? Write it in the comments.

Happy New Year, and well wishes for a great 2014
❤ Rebecca

Kplaylist 3: Testosterone Takeover

I just have to say before you start: Lloyd that is the best face I’ve seen you make ever (the video thumbnail).

Hello one and all Kpop nubs, this is the significant other of the blog overlord here, taking over this blog for the moment with shoop da woops, fried chicken and growing Kpop love. Following the theme of the previous post, i will be injecting this page with my repeat button-smashing Kpop list. I’ve worked on on-the-spot intros to every track basically highlighting a key aspect to the music or video that just made it so enjoyable, time and time again.

And for anyone looking to avoid seeing my mug and just absorb the vibe of the music, here is a playlist without the intros to every video.

The fundamental theme is how many of these songs related to r&b/hip-hop styles from the 90s, at least to me, and how this list is as much a reflection of these artists style as it is nostalgia. Its infinitely more enjoyable when you can find the familiar in a new genre and how much more relate-able it makes the music, even when you fail at the words. Hopefully I get to enjoy the nuances of Kpop music itself as I dig further down the rabbit hole. See you there.

…Wat.

I love my boyfriend, but sometimes I just go “Srsly?” I guess Kpop exposure has to get a little bit ridiculous, cause Kpop is, well, a little bit ridiculous.

❤ Rebecca

10 About: Block B’s “Be the Light”

Block B’s “Be the Light”
10 Pictures. Here we go!

This is the start of some bad martial arts flick.
This is the start of some bad martial arts flick.
Where she must be the villain.
Where she must be the villain.
And here's her faithful ninja sidekick.
And here’s her faithful ninja sidekick.
Not really, but he still gets the snot kicked out of him.
Not really, but he still gets the snot kicked out of him.
Concern for their fallen brother.
Concern for their fallen brother.
SO. MUCH. SAD.
SO. MUCH. SAD.
Alone in the grey sky sad.
Alone in the grey sky sad.
"I will sing for you my brother"
“I will sing for you my brother”
He apparently has enough in him to still reach out for the ladies.
He apparently has enough in him to still reach out for the ladies.
Which of course, the lady responds to. WITH AN AIR STRIKE.
Which of course, the lady responds to. WITH AN AIR STRIKE.

And check out the video for the actual martial arts action (which I can’t screencap cause it get’s all blurry) and the half naked chicks and some tasty metaphors:

❤ Rebecca