Tag Archives: Exo

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: EXO’s “Overdose” misheard version

I think I’m the farthest thing from an Exotic you can possibly be without being an anti, however, EXO’s songs have a tendency to eventually get stuck in my head. Overdose took a lot shorter of a time to stuck in their than any of their previous singles, but I was helped along by two fabulous “Misheard” videos. In these videos, the English speaking uploaders give the video subtitles for what the words would be if they were speaking English. It’s not a translation, it’s glorious.

EXO M

EXO K

I like the mandarin version better, but both are very enjoyable. Of course, if you speak these languages, it’s not very funny, but since I don’t speak either Korean or Mandarin, it’s hilarious to me.

❤ Rebecca

Saranghae: Taeyang’s Dance MV for “Ringa Linga”

I really can’t hold in how much I love this dance. The song’s really intense and it’s got a great dance MV to go with it.

Now currently there’s several immature Exo fans camping in the comment section of the video saying that this is a copy of Growl. I know that these fans aren’t what most Exo fans look like, but they’ve gotten VIP’s pretty riled up since it’s pretty damn obvious that no one owns a “one shot” filming style. It’s even funnier when you think that Love Song by Big Bang was filmed in the “One Shot” style in a rather spectacular fashion back in 2011. You can check that video out here:

The last thing I want to highlight is the choreographer Parris Goebel from New Zealand. Her and her crew make this dance MV awesome and her dance style, Polyswagg, is something I want to see more of, both in and out of the Kpop realm. She does the “one shot” style filming in most of her dance videos and this is my favorite one besides the Taeyang song:

Overfilling with the squeeeeeeeeeee
❤ Rebecca

Kpop hilarity: Misheard lyrics

So, when I was looking up information for my last Kpop Music video post, I came across a youtube channel that specialized in giving fake English lyrics to Kpop songs. This made my evening, and I would just like to share the humor and some of my favorites with you:

BUY SOME CEREALS!

SHOOT A NAUGHTY MOOSE!

What’s a wolf? It’s a wolf. (Could not have said it better myself)

Dead mayans sold a sitar. O really?

Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I did. The channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/Elystie2

❤ Rebecca

Kpop MV Day 22

Kpop Music Video: Day 22
History by EXO under SM Entertainment

All 12 Members
All 12 Members

Normally, I’d embed the video next, but the way this group is set up requires me to talk about the band before I post the video. EXO is a 12 member group that debuted one year ago. Their group is further divided into two subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M. Each subgroup uses the same song, and the same dance for their music video, but the K subgroup sings the song in Korean, and the M subgroup sings the song in Mandarin Chinese. This way, SM entertainment can make a group that can simultaneously promote themselves in Korea and China (which like Japan, is becoming more receptive to Kpop style music), and only write one song and choreograph one dance for what in essence is 2 separate bands. So without further ado:

EXO-K’s History

EXO-M’s History

So this band is one of the three bands I think were substantial rookie bands to debut last year, the other two being Nu’est, and B.A.P. (I’m speaking from strictly an international perspective; I’m well aware that Busker Busker wrecked all three in terms of new bands debuting). However, I’m just getting on to the Exotic bandwagon of craziness, and with much trepidation. I didn’t want to touch EXO with a ten foot pole when they first debuted because I subscribed to their youtube channel (SM Entertainment) just before they started releasing teaser videos (30 second videos meant to pique your interest about a song being released) and SM flooded my feed with teasers. It’s like walking past a store with too many advertisements. Eventually you assume that its a dollar store and the merchandise is cheap, otherwise why would you need that many ads? Then to follow it up, Exotics themselves are a pretty crazy fanbase. I have always been the type of person that will try a band if it seems like a good number of people like them, but as soon as a fan base starts trashing other bands on THE OTHER BANDS videos, or seem super focused on how unbelievably awesome their group is, I stay away before I can get into them. I have dubbed this the Naruto/Bleach effect, since this is where my aversion to fan groups first arose. To be honest, I’m not really sure how I’ve made it through so many songs without completely dropping fandoms. All I can say is, I’m so glad I came upon SNSD’s videos first, otherwise some of the comments that are made in other groups’ videos would make me want to shun them FOREVER.

EXO K
EXO K

The other thing that makes me feel weird about EXO is that for the first time I get this feeling that the band is completely manufactured. My friend who is into Indie music describes this as the “made from money” effect, like they’re just a machine that’s meant to spit out songs and dance on stage. He’d call it souless pop, and while I know that these bands are created by companies, I feel like I’ve gotten to see so many stars go through so much work to make it on these stages that I can’t see it as being souless. But with EXO, I really don’t know. What is great about this factory type construction of using the same dance and song but having two different languages to choose from, is I get to pick which band I want to listen to over and over again. I chose to show you History because I really genuinely enjoy both renditions. I listen to MAMA in Korean because I like the singing better in Korean, and Wolf in Mandarin, because I feel that Mandarin lends itself better to rap. Oh and I only listen to What is Love in Korean, but I only listen to that song when I want to lose my pants in Rippito sippito flippin slow motion. Even though I listen to the bands about equally, I appreciate Exo-M better; I’ve just noticed I pay attention to the Mandarin videos more. Maybe I’m M biased. Who can tell?

EXO M
EXO M

Regardless of my reservations, EXO is a pretty talented group full of good singers, some good rappers, and a whole ton of good dancers. One of the best things about this group is the dancing, which seems to be spectacular in every song they do. And no matter how much the fan base can annoy me, I’ll still be humming this song at the end of the day.

❤ Rebecca