Have you been watching Girls Planet 999?
You might remember how Korean TV network Mnet had the Produce series out for a significant chunk of K-pop’s current era, and yes, they faced a lot of controversies; the biggest of them being that each season was RIGGED (you saw that correctly). However, that might not be the case here, considering all eyes who are watching the program have Mnet on a leash. Dressed under a new name, Girls Planet 999 aims to create a new girl group meant to promote globally with Korean, Japanese, and Chinese members, and it’s basically Produce’s fifth season.
So it comes as no surprise to anyone who’d been following Produce that a slew of new tracks would be coming to further promote the trainees; this time, they are under the single title “Creation Mission“, compiling the four tracks performed by the remaining trainees in sets of 5 and 7. Will each song prove to be worthy of your vote or will you turn off the TV with these tracks? Read on!
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Did anyone see this coming?
TWICE makes their return following the summery title song of “Alcohol-Free” with their very first fully English-single “The Feels“, marking this moment in time to be TWICE’s foray into the Western market.
With the current world enthralled by Korean acts and media such as BTS, BLACKPINK, Squid Game, and Parasite, it makes sense for JYP Entertainment’s hugely popular 9-member girl group to finally step in those waters, even if they’re already household names in the Western hemisphere. The girls look to keep their momentum going and challenge themselves to fully have ONCEs sing along with them, and from what I can tell, it could be a formidable effort.
That said, is this single guaranteed to give you the feels, or are we in dated territory with a title like this? Let’s check it out!
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The four-member group (or eight-member, if we’re going by the group’s formalities) from the ever-popular SM Entertainment umbrella has made waves in the K-pop scene with their third single “Next Level”, reaching heights as the new hot 4th generation girl group. So, when the announcement for a mini-album comeback (this being their first) came along months later, the hype was real: will this follow “Next Level” in its footsteps to securing aespa’s fame?
With a mini-album and a title track titled “Savage“, you know aespa isn’t coming to play around with the next comeback. So, it’s here we have to ask: is this on the “Next Level” for the girls or is this not on the same “Savage” level as Megan Thee Stallion? I kid, but we have to wonder how savage this could be… read on!
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As I mentioned previously in some recent posts, I am getting back to finishing up a lot of backlogged reviews. Just recently, I finished reviewing three singles from Perfume’s catalog from 2008 to 2009, them being “love the world”, “Dream Fighter”, and “One Room Disco”. These three singles lead up to the studio album release of “⊿”, otherwise known as “Triangle”.
“⊿” is the second studio album release from electropop sensations Perfume, a trio of girls produced by famous electronica composer Nakata Yasutaka of CAPSULE. Having secured their status as a prominent force in Japanese pop with the release of their first-ever original studio album “GAME” in 2008, all eyes were on the girls for the follow-up sophomore album and interest developed on what sound it would tackle, especially with its three preceding singles having very unique sounds when compared.
With “⊿”, Nakata was going through a rebranding of his sound on his own right, and if you listen carefully to this album, you might just hear those influences bleeding into his works with Perfume. One has to wonder if this experimenting into what almost seems like an exploration into the 80s will shape this triangle to its right angles… the only way to find out is to take off into the night…
Continue reading “album review: Perfume “Triangle””
Since Perfume has made a stellar comeback with their “Polygon Wave EP” release just only days prior, I’ve gotten into a huge Perfume kick. It’s here that I realized I haven’t actually finished a lot of my Perfume reviews! And as a treat for my return to blogging after a few months, I decided to return to taking a look at their releases.
First up is the final single for their Triangle album, “One Room Disco“. Having already reviewed two of the three singles for their second album, I believe it’s high time we take a look into this release, which takes listeners into the journey of living independently, usually in places known as ‘one-rooms’ in Japan. It’s an interesting concept that takes a left-field from the more futuristic efforts the girls had released prior. However, will the foray into more pop and more present territory fare well for this disco, or is there not enough room for this ‘one-room’ to disco?
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Perfume has returned!
2021 has been a relatively quiet year for electropop trio Perfume in terms of releases, having released a digital single in the summer as part of a tie-in with the Japanese version of the popular TV show The Masked Singer. That said, Perfume continues to treat fans with new content every year, even if it means re-releasing that same single in an EP containing different variations of the song and adding two new tracks into the mix. That EP is the “Polygon Wave EP“, which is Perfume’s first physical release of 2021, and it has the girls exploring futuristic yet nostalgic territory.
With the continued assistance of producer Nakata Yasutaka, the girls look to ride the polygon waves of 2021 as we near the end of the year, but are the waves high enough to sweep other J-pop competition or are Perfume at a stand-still in their long careers with this release?
Continue reading “mini-album review: Perfume “Polygon Wave EP””
STAYC, girls, it’s going down, again!
6-member K-pop girl group STAYC, from High Up Entertainment, returns with their very first mini-album, ‘STEREOTYPE‘. The release comes after the release of their first 2021 release ‘STAYDOM’, which features the viral hit “ASAP”, propelling the girls to success. All eyes have now landed on STAYC for the next future releases, giving them the distinction of being one of the top fourth-generation groups to come from South Korea.
With this being their first mini-album, there is more to offer from STAYC following “ASAP”. This time, opting for a high school-like aesthetic that has Clueless vibes written all over it, STAYC returns with the title track “STEREOTYPE”. It’s time for this former high schooler to go back in time with STAYC’s third comeback and ask if this release is bound to break the stereotypes that STAYC must face with this concept and their status as rookies – will it succeed, or will it fail to be unique amongst its peers?
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It’s time for something new!
I know it has been a minute since I’ve been around, and I come back in spurts every now and then. I have a crazy schedule – I’m back in school, I’m working a lot, and frankly, I’m also playing a lot of video games on my brand spanking new PC, but aside from all that, I still want to continue writing and sharing my views on Asian music with others, in the hopes that I can spread some good word about songs I like (and even ones I dislike). Who knows… you might fall in love, naturally, with some of the songs I recommend!
I’ve opted to start a new series that I more-or-less have started a while back – an artist spotlight. Usually, it would involve me reviewing a lot of their works in a short span of time, like Koda Kumi or Brave Girls prior, but this time, I thought I’d fill you in on the artist themselves – have you get to know them and recommend some of their works.
The very first in the series is none other than Japan’s top girl-group Perfume. I’ll expand more on this later in the spotlight, but a recent poll suggested they are currently at the top for girl group rankings in 2021… that’s not hard to believe, but man, they’ve been in the game for more than 20 years, and they continue to be a huge influence over Japan. I love it. So let’s take a look at Perfume in more detail, and perhaps, if you haven’t already, you’ll find a song in their discography that you may find yourself gravitating towards!
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I have to admit, this was a harder list for me to create, but can you believe that we’re already at the half-way point for the year in J-pop?!
It’s been quite a few years already, and I’ve noticed big-time how the J-pop scene has changed so vastly during those years. Some of my favorite artists are no longer big names, and newer artists seem to show up every year… I can no longer keep track! That said, I’m still finding more and more through word of mouth and recommendations.
I can only hope these next fifteen tracks are worthy of your listening pleasure, as I consider them the best from what I have heard throughout this first part of the year. Will we share the same opinions? Let’s take a look!
Continue reading “the best of jpop 2021 so far”