single review: Girls Planet 999 “Creation Mission”

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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single review: TWICE “The Feels”

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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mini-album review: aespa “Savage”

aespa returns!

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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mini-album review: STAYC “STEREOTYPE”

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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the best of kpop 2021 so far

We are at the middle mark of 2021! Crazy how time flew by.

With that comes a new list, one that I have been meaning to do ever since the year started. I’ll be listing out fifteen of Korean pop music’s best efforts for the year, and this time, I won’t be putting them in any order. It is merely just a list of the best tracks that have made their way into our earlobes for the year… so far.

And what a half-year it has been! From the likes of BTS buttering up our eardrums to STAYC catching up to us ASAP, the outlook of the genre’s music is fantastic for the remainder of the year. Without further ado, let’s get to the list of 2021’s best Korean pop efforts, with the hope that you might agree (or disagree) with what I’ve got here…

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single review: woo!ah! (우아!) “QURIOUS”

So, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I wanted to review more obscure K-pop works moving forward because, being influenced by the Brave Girls phenomenon, I wanted to bring some real hidden gems to the forefront. Not that I have much influence but I’d love to see a lot of newer groups get some shine in the spotlight, and every bit of help counts!

That said, today I have my focus on a recently debuted girl group by the name of woo!ah!, of NV Entertainment. While they’re relatively unknown, they made a small splash as a six-member girl group meant to wow you with their charms and talents. After the leave of their maknae, woo!ah! makes their return to the K-pop scene with a drastic change in concept, but one that (at least, I myself think) doesn’t take away from any of their youthful charms and performing prowess. They return with “QURIOUS“, and spelling aside, consider me curious how this single will be.

Opting to go for a ‘bad girl’ concept while still trying to be cute might be a strange combination, but will it mesh or did curiosity kill the cat on this release? Read on!

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mini-album review: ITZY “GUESS WHO”

Guess who is back? It’s not Koda Kumi back to do an anime opening for Black Clover, no! IT’z ITZY!

Making their return after their fandom-related release, “MIDZY”, the five-member girl crush group is back to slay the game with the new release “GUESS WHO“. It’s a release that’s been long coming, with their last girl-crush concept being that of “Not Shy”, which I reviewed last year to rave reviews (I’m not shy to say I’m an ITZY stan). This time the girls tackle an even fiercer concept, joining the Korean mafia with this aesthetically-pleasing release. Knowing they have the ability to put a hit on the general public, I’m sure they have the potential to be respected mafias as time goes on.

That said, the girls also brought a bevy of new tracks to keep us on our toes, having their fans guess who, out of the six tracks including the title release, is the true hit-maker. Is it the mafia in the morning? Or is it something more along the lines of… tennis? You’ll have to read on!

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STAYC (스테이씨) | Star To A Young Culture

While 2020 wasn’t necessarily a great year for all of us, no matter how many times I say it (and remind ourselves), there were still some shining glimmers of hope in the K-pop community. Some bands disbanded, some companies had to fold under, but others persevered, and 2020 became a year where debuts kept pumping out one by one.

STAYC is one of those debuts, coming from High Up Entertainment, a company founded by the producer duo Black Eyed Pilsung (and I know you’re thinking about some way that formed from Black Eyed Peas… that’s irrelevant, lol). The duo is a huge force in K-pop, having produced hits for the likes of TWICE via “TT” and CHUNG HA for “Roller Coaster”. Following the likes of Shinsadong Tiger and Brave Brothers, the pair formed their own executively-produced group. And the hype is real for STAYC, with two actresses already on the team, and their previews showcasing a group filled with visuals… it isn’t hard to believe they can go big.

Their first effort, appropriately acronym’d like the Korean-English way it is, “Star To A Young Culture“, looks to make these girls stars to, well, the younger culture. But is this teen-pop girl-group actually accessible to everyone including an oldie second-gen K-pop stan like myself, or is it merely just kiddy fodder? Read on!

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ENHYPEN | BORDER : CARNIVAL

I’ll be making more of an effort to review some newer releases, as well, and to kick things off, I’ll be taking a look at HYBE’s new boy group ENHYPEN, formed through the reality competition I-LAND. They had a debut that wowed me (and frankly, that review will be coming, lol), and I’ve had my attention on them going forward. There’s some anticipation here for this review, especially because the boys continue with the horror concept that was introduced in their first effort; you know I love me some horror concepts!

Their first comeback mini-album is titled “BORDER : CARNIVAL“, which, based on previews, takes the boys into a more party-like territory than the dark lonely feel of their previous effort, but it still has some spooky blood drenched all over it (the aesthetics are also the chef’s kiss).

With this mini-album, the boys attempt to elevate their border series to carnival status, but is this going to be bloody brilliant or is this just all dried up with nothing for us to get our fangs on?

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