11 May 2021

11 May 2021 - MAMAMOO - 딩가딩가 (Dingga)

We just can't stop the K-Pop.  I feel like I short-change y'all last week because, well, Darling Buds Day, so I'm making up now. 

MAMAMOO have been released really good music since 2014 - music that is both poppy and critically acclaimed.  All four members have strong solo careers outside the group..  which, in K-Pop, isn't all that uncommon - but the level of success they've all had as solo artists is nearly unprecedented - all four of them have extensive solo discographies that rival the success of the group as a whole.

Still, the group stays together and makes excellent music.  This single, from late 2020, is an example of that. Not only is it entertaining - it DIRECTLY addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had (and, as of this writing, still has) on social life.

As is not uncommon in K-Pop, a Japanese version of the song was released in early 2021.  I'd like to point out that this isn't just a redubbing - there are a lot of portions of this video that were recorded to reflect Japanese lipsync.  

10 May 2021

10 May 2021 - aespa - Black Mamba

I was originally going to post this during the two weeks of K-Pop, but, you know, the Darling Buds annual celebration interrupted that.  So, you get an extra day of K-Pop.  Not like I don't have literally three months worth of solid K-Pop to post.....

And when I first saw aespa, I thought they looked a lot like BLACKPINK - but theirs is a unique sound.  

aespa, however, doesn't need uppercase letters.  This was their debut single, premiering in November 2020. It is an bass-heavy song that has become a worldwide hit.   

The video definitely does NOT shy away from the snake imagery.  The song itself is meant to explain the concept of aespa.....yes, there's a whole concept about avatars and experience.... you see, a lot of K-Pop is focused on performance and entertainment, and not the actual music.  

However, this one's a banger, DESPITE the high concept.  The four women in the group (I promise you there's only four) are clearly talented at singing, and the music here allows each of them to highlight their vocals.  

07 May 2021

7 May 2021 - BLACKPINK ft. Selena Gomez - Ice Cream

How do artists clearly in two different countries collaborate in the middle of a pandemic?

Clearly, via Zoom.  

Yes, they made an actual video for the song, but I wanted to show off the Zoom version first.  However, even in this version, you notice that BLACKPINK is very much not in Selena Gomez's area, as their scenes were recorded in Korea, whereas Ms. Gomez filmed in the States.  

The song was teased before its release, with BLACKPINK fans hoping the mystery collaborator not initially mentioned would be Ariana Grande.  As it turns out, Grande was a co-writer of this song, but Selena Gomez was chosen to perform. 

The song is nothing more than a huge double entendre, mostly in English, save for Lisa's Korean rap near the end.  I mean, it was partly in Korean - not that it wasn't filled with double entendres.  The song is BLACKPINK's biggest in the US to date, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

06 May 2021

6 May 2021 - The Darling Buds - Isolation

We interrupt this K-Pop bonanza to bring you the Darling Buds.

And thank God for the Darling Buds.  They last year recorded an update to one of the tracks from their 2020 album, Erotica. Which, of course, was a really timely update.  

They even recorded it in May, but too late for our 2020 Darling Buds Day.  However, something tells me it's still going to be somewhat appropriate this year.  At any rate, Andrea Lewis's dog steals the show here.  

05 May 2021

5 May 2021 - Jessi - What Type of X

While I am writing a blog post, I tend to like to listen to the songs I'm writing about.   Sometimes, I get into the writing and I let the song go to the next song.   Usually, especially these couple of weeks, the next song is one I know well.  As I wrote yesterday's post, the next song came on, and it was one I had not heard before.... nor did the artist sound familiar.

So, that isn't the typical way I get to posts for this blog.  But Jessi is not your typical K-Pop artist.  

Because she was born in Queens.  In New York.  The Korean-American rapper was raised in New Jersey until age 15, when she moved to South Korea in search of her music career.  After early problems aclimating to the Korean culture, the hard-edged hip-hop artist has gained some momentum.  

This song was released in March 2021 and is her latest single, cowritten by PSY.  Yes.  That PSY.  I promise that wasn't planned.

04 May 2021

4 May 2021 - HyunA - I'm Not Cool

HyunA is one of the grand dames of K-Pop.  And, so we are clear, she turns 29 in June.  So, she's got a lot of career ahead of her.

You see, she debuted long ago - in 2007, as a member of the Wonder Girls.  Do the math, people.  She was 14 when she joined them.  She did leave that group and go on to 4Minute and a very successful solo career as well. 

This song, released in January 2021, was co-written by HyunA, Dawn (from Pentagon and her boyfriend) and Psy.  Yes, THAT Psy.  It's fun and does poke fun at her long-standing image as something of a bad girl.  

03 May 2021

3 May 2021 - PSY ft. CL - Daddy

Clearly, without knowing anything else, you know this song owes a huge debt to the will.i.am song "I Got It From My Mama".  What may surprise you, however, is that it was not only openly authorized, but will.i.am is a co-writer and co-producer of this 2015 single by the king of K-Pop.

That's right.  will.i.am is on board.  So, you should be, too.  After all, it's just a fun, goofy song that verges on parody.  Not like PSY knows a damn thing about parody.  

CL from 2NE1 provides the female vocal for the chorus.  

Also, he's still not quite getting the hang of what Gangnam Style actually is......