倖田來未 | real Emotion / 1000の言葉

K, U, M, I in position… it’s showtime, girls!

For a big chunk of indeterminate time, I’ll be reviewing some old Koda Kumi stuff, as if I haven’t already reviewed a huge chunk of her stuff! Joking aside, I have revisited Final Fantasy X-2 recently, mostly because I’ve been on a huge gaming kick, and I recall a time when I would only play that particular game for its opening sequence… because Final Fantasy and J-pop? Who could have ever thought?!

Released by the one and only ero-kakkoii Best Jeans-winner herself, Queen Koda Kumi, “real Emotion / 1000の言葉” is the single that finally put her into the spotlight, and both songs are featured in the game, with the second A-side making its appearance as a cutscene that, yes, helps you get 100% in the game (…it’s a required cutscene, don’t fret). With that said, is the single all it’s chalked up to be, or was wee 10-year-old me just too gay to realize each song’s true quality? Read on!

Read More »

宇多田ヒカル | One Last Kiss

It’s been 14 years!

Crazy to believe that the Evangelion rebuilds are finally coming to an end, but alas, here we are. With this end comes an end to the collaboration efforts between Utada Hikaru and the series, as well. You may be familiar with Hikki’s works with Kingdom Hearts but if you don’t know about her efforts with Eva… where have you been?! Jokes aside, Utada Hikaru’s work with Eva is one filled with lyrics of love, beauty, and her sound is that of an etherealness that is reminiscent of her works in the mid-00s.

Her final release with the project comes in the form of a mini-album, with one new track, a rehash of an old Eva song, and remasters of all her tie-ins. “One Last Kiss” is the title of the new song and is meant to signify one last effort – but will it be worth it in the end? Is this one last kiss one for the books? Let’s check it out!

Read More »

NiziU | Take a picture / Poppin’ Shakin’

Let’s take a break from Brave Girls to give NiziU the small artist spotlight for April!

If you haven’t already heard about or even listened to a song from NiziU, where you have you been?! Formed from reality competition program Nizi Project (and no, you’re reading it correctly… there’s no A), crafted by South Korea’s very own *whispers* JYP of JYP Entertainment, NiziU made a huge (and by huge, I mean 300,000 sales worth) dent in the Japanese music industry, effectively turning the group into… well, the nation’s girl group, lol (though that’s up to how you wanna see it; that’s just me).

NiziU makes their return with their second major single, a double A-side with two tracks that has JYP makings written all over it. Titled “Take a picture / Poppin’ Shakin’“, each track is bound to get the Japanese public going, but are these selfies going to turn out just right on the first try? Will they be poppin’ and shakin’ or are they just poppin’ chicken (so stupid, I’m sorry)? Let’s take a look!

Read More »

브레이브걸스 | 유후 (우린 아직 여름)

Next up on the Brave Girls spotlight is a song that many people don’t actually know is part of their discography, hidden amongst their more recent releases. That song is “Yoo Hoo“, a summer jam that will have you thinking back to the fond days of when SISTAR and AOA ruled the charts as ‘summer queens’. Brave Girls, on the heels of their rolling success with “Rollin'”, has declared that they would like to be the next ‘summer queens’ to rule the charts, having already made waves with the almost-summery-like tracks “Rollin'” and “We Ride”.

“Yoo Hoo” might just be a precursor to the kinds of full-on summer tunes that Brave Girls will be releasing come the next few months, but is “Yoo Hoo” a knock-out track worth yoo-hooing too, or is it too cold for us to take a dip? Read on!

Read More »

브레이브걸스 | 변했어

Up next on the artist spotlight for Brave Girls is the under-the-radar single “Byeonhaesseo”, otherwise known as “Deepened“. Before they were rollin’ up the charts and ridin’ the waves of fame, the four current Brave Girls were part of the seven-member line-up in 2016, having been introduced alongside Hayun as the second generation of the group. With original members Yoojin and Hyeran by their side, the group revamped themselves following a long hiatus.

“Deepened” is definitely Brave Sound in nature, but with its melancholic tone and R&B-like feel, is this track worth your love or do you deserve better? Let’s take a look!

Read More »

브레이브걸스 | We Ride

You must know about Brave Girls now! If you haven’t already read my last review, you should check it out, but remember when I mentioned how Brave Girls had been receiving some hot attention lately? Well… it looks like that attention has skyrocketed them to incredible fame, going so far as to reach records and win their first ever music show trophy (with many more wins incoming).

I decided to take things up a notch with the reviews and put the artist spotlight on Brave Girls for the next few reviews, and there’s no other review to make than “We Ride”, the most recent comeback from the girls prior to the success of “Rollin'”. Being that this was their last effort before they made discussions about disbanding prior to their rise in fame, “We Ride” did not fare well on the charts initially but is now seeing a #WeRise of sorts. Following up after “Rollin'”, is this single worth the ride into Brave Girls’ discography, or are they simple just driving as a one-hit wonder? Read on!

Read More »

브레이브걸스 | Rollin’

Have you been in the K-pop know recently? Do you recall when a fancam video of Hani shot EXID to stardom? Then, have you heard about Brave Girls, and their recent becoming of a hot issue in the last few days of February?

Due to a compilation video uploaded by a Korean YouTuber, Brave Girls have become something of an anomaly; their 2017 track “Rollin’” shot up in the charts following the video’s viral release, featuring live performances of the track including a ‘military-version’ complete with chants from Korean men in euphoria to the sultry tune. Today we take a look at this track and the accompanying mini-album to see what all the hype is about… and if maybe I can join in on the fun!

Read More »

애프터스쿨 | 너 때문에

Let’s go back to the past with some K-pop releases!

Lately, I’ve found myself going down a gigantic hole of old K-pop jams that I got myself into back in the golden age, when groups like 2NE1, 4minute, SNSD, and After School held reign. Today, I’ll be looking at the latter, a group that is officially one member in size and is unofficially disbanded, originally designed to be like SK’s ‘Pussycat Dolls’ before trading that concept to be SK’s ‘Morning Musume.’ instead (you heard that right). After School had a stellar debut, but with the addition of two new members Nana and Reina, the sassy girls made an even bigger splash with the raindrops of “Because of You“. With the switch from fun concepts to one of heartbreak, is this single worth crying (joyful) tears over or is it because of this single that your heart is broken?

Read More »

ARIAZ (아리아즈) | ARIAZ 1st Mini Album ‘Grand Opera’

Let me preface this review with stating that bullying is BAD. Please don’t do it. Let me also say that it’s up to you however you want to live your life, but if you intend on aiming for a role as a public figure (especially in Korea), be careful with your decisions!

Now, onto an introduction! I don’t think you’ve ever heard of ARIAZ, and that’s completely fine. The 6-member group from Rising Star made their debut back in October 2019, and sadly, due to a scandal that occurred just days before their debut showcase, the group haven’t been able to make any follow-up releases and is likely to fade into existence. That said, I came across this release completely by accident. I only briefly touched it when it came out and didn’t even know about their scandal, but suddenly, one of the songs appeared on my radar, and I just had to talk about this. Scandal and personal feelings aside, is ARIAZ worthy of a grand opera listen or is this a high note waiting to crack? Let’s read on!

Read More »