Kim Sungkyu – 41 Days

As an Inspirit, I’d been anticipating Sunggyu’s solo debut the minute they announced it. Whenever a teaser came out, hours later it was on my mp3. When Shine was released, I loved the different sound it had from Infinite’s norm. That also went on my iPod.

When the album, Another Me, came out, I fell in love with it. The whole album was amazing. Seriously. Normally when it comes to albums, I really like a few songs from it, but not all of them. That wasn’t the case here. I loved every single song on that album. The next day, I bought it online. It was the first kpop item I’d ever bought. Ever. When it arrived, I had a squealfest.

Of course, even with an album where I love ever single song on it, there will always be at least one song that outshines the rest. It was no different with this album.

With 41 Days, it took me 45 seconds for me to fall completely and totally in love with the song.

It starts out as a ballad. I love the background sounds (I really don’t know what to call them… they sound so cool!), the way it fits so well. Then a minute and 15 seconds into the song, it bursts into this Euro pop beat that mixes with those background sounds to make really cool combination.

My favorite part of the song happens at the two and a half minute mark, where it goes into a bridge. The words “You can’t take my heart (how you feel right now)” repeat over and over again, and that echo just gives me the chills.

Another favorite part of the song for me is the chorus. Those first few notes? I don’t know how to explain it. I’m a musician, and that little musical phrase at the beginning of each phrase, to me, is beautiful. I could go into technical terms that would confuse everyone, me included, so I won’t. The main point is, musically, the chorus is very appealing.

Even though I don’t understand the Korean lyrics, just the English tells me enough about the song. When I looked up the translation, I wasn’t disappointed. I love the words. It’s a poem, and a beautiful one at that. Being the nerd I was, I read it aloud dramatically. Like a poem, I guess. I love it when not only the melody is beautiful, but the words are beautiful as well.

 41 Days

The light becomes larger and the windows open up, only to close again
The light turns off
The music gets louder and my shoulders move up and down and stop again
The music turns off

Everything I gave to you wasn’t for you
It was so that it would feel like nothing to me
Everything that was pointed towards you, that wasn’t love
It was only because I wanted to believe that it was
That we’re reachable

That light that was brightly shining, the dark path in front of me
I wished for it to be you
But this is already a heart inside a dark shadow
That no one can see

Everything I gave to you wasn’t for you
It was so that it would feel like nothing to me
Everything that was pointed towards you, that wasn’t love
It was only because I wanted to believe that it was
That we’re reachable

You can’t take my heart (How you feel right now)
You can’t take my heart (How you feel right now)
You can’t take my heart
You can’t take my heart (How you feel right now)
You can’t take my heart (How you feel right now)
You can’t take my heart
You can’t take my heart

Everything I gave to you wasn’t for you
It was so that it would feel like nothing to me
Everything that was pointed towards you, that wasn’t love
It was only because I wanted to believe that it was
That we’re reachable

That we would be connected together till whenever
(However, our hearts)
Say that we’re each others’ lasts, that we’ll always be together
(It can never be the same)
The promises and vows we whispered keep getting larger and turn off
(How you feel right now)
But still, we’re the last, We’ll be eternal from now on
(How you feel right now)

Teen Top – No More Perfume On You

When I first heard No More Perfume On You by Teen Top, I absolutely fell in love with the song. It was extremely catchy, and I loved the tune. It was another song that was on repeat.

Now, I need to remind you; I don’t speak or understand Korean, so I had no idea what the lyrics actually meant. I was a bit baffled at the name. It’s not… normal, to say. But it didn’t occur to me to really look into what the actual lyrics were. So it wasn’t until I saw a review by Simon and Martina on EatYourKimchi that I realized exactly what it was about. They were veeeeery harsh in their review of the song (click here to watch), and for a very good reason.

The whole song is basically about a guy who is cheating on his girlfriend with an older woman. In the song he’s telling this older woman, or this noona, not to wear perfume, otherwise his girlfriend will smell it on him and suspect him of cheating. It complete shocked me when I understood what it was about.

That really depresses me, because I really really REALLY love the song. The tune is so catchy; but the message is worth crap. The message their sending is that cheating is okay, which it definitely is NOT.

Something that kind of creeped me out about the MV was how smiley everyone was in it, especially Chunji. Not once do I see his smile leave his face. On certain occasions that would be good, but in this case, it’s just creepy and weird. They’re all smiling about cheating on their girlfriend; what a scumbag. And the worst part? At the very end, when the girlfriend finds Chunji (who’s the main focus of the MV) with the noona, he smiles at her. He smiles. He’s not remorseful, he’s not apologetic, or even guilty. He looks almost proud of himself. That’s probably the worst part of it.

Honestly, a message like this is something I’d expect of an American artist to produce. Come on, we all know how stupid, degrading, and outright insulting some American songs are. It’s a fad that I really hope dies out, and soon. Kpop is my getaway from crap like that. But when a song like this comes around and invades, it kind of ruins my day.

Of course, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop listening to this song. I’ll always listen to this song, and just try to forget what the words are saying. That’s what I do with most American songs; I ignore the lyrics and just listen to the melody. Because people are VERY good at making amazing melodies to crappy and stupid words.

Another thing that got me was the fact that Teen Top is made of just that: teens. Well, almost. C.A.P, the oldest, and the leader, just turned 20 (21 Korean age) in November of last year (and just so happens to be exactly one day younger than me). But when this song came out, him, and all the rest of the group were all teens. The youngest, at the time, was 16 years old. Sixteen, and they’re talking about cheating on their girlfriends. Seriously? They’re just kids! They should be talking about… about… well, not about cheating on their girlfriends!

Anyways, I’ve got my quarrels with the song, as I’m sure many people do, those who know what it’s about. But dammit, it’s catchy. And that freakin’ annoys me.

Park Ji Yoon – Tree of Life

This song. Man. I cannot express in words how beautiful this song is.

Park Ji Yoon is not someone I’m familiar with at all. The only other song I’ve ever heard from her is Adult Ceremony, and honestly, I really didn’t care for the song. And I only heard the song because Sungjong of Infinite did a cover of it. Needless to say, my knowledge of Park Ji Yoon and her works is pretty much non-existent. I do vaguely remember seeing her in the kdrama Lie To Me (though I didn’t realize it was her until I looked her up), but that’s all.

When I first heard Tree of Life, I couldn’t help but just sit in awe at how well and put-together the song was.

It starts out with a simple piano accompaniment, before expanding to include strings and a guitar. But that piano presence never leaves. It simple, and that’s what makes it beautiful. The whole song is a build-up for the bridge, which is an instrumental part with synthesizers. It’s amazing how well it fits into the song. I mean, synthesizers in a piece like this? They shouldn’t go together, yet they do.

I wish I understood Korean, so that I knew what the song was actually about. I’ve looked everywhere for the lyrics of the song, even the Korean lyrics, but I haven’t found them at all. I really want to know what the lyrics are, what the core content of the song is. It has to have some meaning, right? I mean, “tree of life” is a very thought-provoking phrase; I’m curious how it fit into the song. But for now, I’m going to have to suffer not knowing what it’s about, and just make simple guesses by the major feels this song gives me.

I really don’t have too much to say about this song. Well, I do. I just can’t put it into words. This song leaves e breathless every time I listen to it, and has left me curious about other songs by Park Ji Yoon.

U-KISS – Neverland

Neverland holds a special place in my heart. This is mainly because it was the song that got me hooked onto kpop. Neverland was the first song that had me listening to on repeat constantly. I got these really weird feels from it every time I listened to it. I don’t get chills or feels like that from very many songs. Maybe this is why I got so invested in kpop; I got feels from many of the songs I heard.

It’s funny, now that I think of it. I got into kpop by way of the kdrama Shut Up! Flower Boy Band, and the appearance of Myungsoo from Infinite. But the first actual group I got into by way of their music was U-KISS. It wasn’t until later that it occurred to me that I should probably listen to some Infinite songs (at the time, I was hooked on their reality shows, like Sesame Player and Ranking King… not their music). So in truth, U-KISS was my very first kpop group. And honestly, they still are my favorite group, when it comes to their songs. I still have yet to hear a song from them I don’t like.

On to the actual song. It’s very  heavy on the electronic and synth, but I really really like that. It makes me dance. And the dance is easy. Just flail your arms around like a madman. Well, not really. But it looks easy. I’ve tried copying it… and it wasn’t easy. Figures. *sigh* But I still keep trying, ‘cuz it’s fun! There’s this one part of the song where the lyrics go “Tell the DJ turn it u- up-up and da-da-dance a little more” (sung the first time by AJ, and the second time by Eli), that I always end up twirling my fingers “up-up-up”, and then dropping it to point down on “more”. It’s really hard to explain without actually showing it. It’s a habit that’s formed, and every single time, I do it, even unconsciously sometimes. You know it’s a good song when your body just automatically moves to it the same way Every. Single. Time. Seriously.

…I keep getting off topic. XD Anyways. The music video is a rather simple one, in which the members dance in various scenes. It goes from a snowy plain, to an abandoned warehouse or basement (either one works), and then a watery puddle (seriously, it’s just a giant puddle). The overall them is quite cold. In every scene there’s ice, icicles, water, etc. At some point there is an ice sculpture of the group name, U-KISS, seen melting then… unmelting. Why, I have no idea. I don’t understand the symbolism, if there is any. Maybe they just thought it looked cool. I dunno.

It’s also quite a fierce dance; it almost looks like fighting. At certain points of the songs, the camera shakes suddenly, as if being jarred. It’s quite neat to watch, actually.

My favorite parts of the song are actually the background vocals at certain points. When the lyrics “kkeuteun obseo never end, yeogin neverland” there’s this background voice that rises above all the others, and I simply love that touch. Whenever songs do that, I just melt. I can just imagine someone reaching for the sky as the voice climbs higher and higher.

Anyways. That’s about it about Neverland. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will always love it.

Kim Yerim – Circus

Kim Yerim is part of a duo called Two Months. Two Months consists of two Korean-Americans who took part in the Korean version of American Idol, Superstar K3. They’re from the States, but came over to Korea to join SK3. I think they got third place after Busker Busker and Ooh La La Session (neither of which I know anything about, except Busker Busker is apparently really popular in Korea right now). I didn’t follow SK3, so I don’t really know much about the duo themselves. I do look forward to what they will be releasing in the future, because I think they just recently got signed (don’t remember by who, though…), and their sound is… unique.

Anyways! Enough about that. So I actually first saw Kim Yerim in the kdrama Shut Up! Flower Boy Band (which remains to this day as my ultimate favorite drama, trumping even City Hunter in the long run). She plays a fairly prominent character, having a kind-of-sort-of loveline with Myungsoo’s character.

The song Circus is actually part of the SUFBB OST. It was the first song Yerim sang when she made her entrance in the drama as an already-popular singer.

I’ll admit, when I first heard Yerim’s voice, it threw me off. It’s a very different voice that I’m used to listening to in kpop and it was a bit disconcerting for while, until I got used to her voice. It’s accurate enough to say that I didn’t really like her voice at first. But it grew on me. Quite a lot, actually. It was something different, something fresh. Her voice is very open and full, nothing like the “poppy” voices you hear in girl groups like SNSD. That’s a charm in and of itself. It’s definitely a recognizable voice. From now on, whenever I hear her voice, I’ll know exactly who it is, no doubts at all.

As for the song, I really like the song. It’s catchy (OHHHHHH so catchy), and I’ve found myself singing along, dancing along, just plain jiving along with the song. (Reminds me of what happened with Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby… but that’s a story for another time.) I really like the use of synthesizers throughout the song. It gives it that extra oomf. Put her voice on top of it all, it gives it an interesting combination.

All in all, Circus is a song I really like, and I’ve caught myself putting on repeat constantly. Now let’s hope that I don’t overdo it and listen to it so much that I get sick of it. I’ve done that numerous times before, and it’s really annoying.

Super Junior – Daydream

Super Junior (shortened to Suju) is probably among the most well-known kpop bands in existence. If you know anything about kpop, you’ve heard of Super Junior. You’d be crazy not to. However, knowing who they are, and liking their music are two very different things. I admit that they do have good songs. They must, because they have such a huge fanbase, so people MUST like their songs. However, none of them spoke to me. Sure, they were nice, but I didn’t care enough for them that I’d listen to them over and over.

I mean, I have Sorry Sorry on my mp3, but that’s mainly because it’s just so famous, and the dance is fun to try and not fail doing (I’ve tried… it’s harder than it looks; really). And yes, I do have Sorry Sorry – Answer as well, but really; it’s the same song in a different arrangement.

So their newest album came out last year (I still can’t believe it’s 2013… sheesh) and it really wasn’t anything special to me; I don’t follow Suju, so the only songs I was exposed to were the ones that were talked most about. That is, Spy and Sexy, Free, and Single. Neither of them were particularly amazing to me (don’t get me wrong, I like them… just not as much as other songs). So I didn’t think much more of the album.

Then I randomly happened to stumble across Daydream. No, Daydream is off of the same album as Spy and Sexy, Free and Single, But it didn’t get too much attention because of the two singles off of the same album. It doesn’t have a music video to attract attention. So I was totally not expecting to come across a gem like this song.

I’m not sure what caught me about the song. It’s a ballad, and I love ballads, and it’s also not the style I was used to hearing when I listened to other Suju songs. Then again, I am not knowledgeable about their songs, so there could be a bunch of others songs like this out there that I don’t know about that I really need to find. Who knows.

Even now I‘m not sure why I love this song so much. Maybe it’s the heartfelt “eottoke” (which means “what to do”) that is in every chorus. Perhaps it’s the delicateness of the singing when they sing the high notes. However, I get the feeling that the emotion put into the song is a big factor. I’m a very emotional person, and I can tell the difference between a song sung with emotion, and one without emotion. This one definitely touched me.

I don’t speak or understand Korean, and I still get the gist of what the song is about. When I looked up the English translation, it was exactly what I expected it to be about. Heartbreak, memories of past love. It’s the stuff most songs are about. It’s the select few that can turn it into something more.

So, overall, this song is one of my favorites, and has made me give Suju a second impression of their work. I’m glad that they can do more than the style I’ve heard up until now. They have so much talent (seriously, with a total of 13 members since they debuted in 2005, you’d expect them to), and I’m happy t see they use it. Is it too much for me to ask for Suju to do more songs like this? Because I really think ballads like these are a strength they should exploit.

I figured I should include the English translation of the lyrics, because they really are pretty.

Daydream

Covering my ears to listen to you
Shutting my eyes to imagine you
You have slowly become blurred, you have slowly left me
In the unstoppable memories

I stop (stop) I stop (stop)
The memories of having once loved, control me so easily
Once again, One more time
How can it end like this I cannot believe
Those countless promises, what to do, what to do

Not breathing to feel you
Clutching both fists together to touch you
You have slowly become blurred, you have slowly left me
In the unstoppable memories

I stop (stop) I stop (stop)
The memories of having once loved, control me so easily
Once again, One more time
How can it end like this, I cannot believe
Those countless promises, what to do, what to do

Not breathing to feel you
Clutching both fists together to touch you
You have slowly become blurred, you have slowly left me
In the unstoppable memories

I stop (stop) I stop (stop)
The memories of having once loved, control me so easily
Once again, One more time
How can it end like this, I cannot believe
Those countless promises, what to do, what to do

No fear of pain, no fear of hurt
Only with you here will I be able to live
Without you I am just as if I have lost a life
Unable to move forward, unable to move backward
What do I do, what do I do

Stop

Dark and lightless (since the day you left)
Dark and lightless (since the day you dumped me)
Since the day you left me
I have died a little

Once again, One more time
How can it end like this, I cannot believe
Those countless promises, what to do, what to do

Infinite – Before the Dawn (BTD)

I decided to start off my new corner by reviewing Infinite’s Before the Dawn (BTD) for various reasons.

The first and foremost is because the idea to make this corner was formed after I read an amazing fanfic someone wrote for the music video. I’m a writer myself (in case you haven’t noticed XP), and so when I find something that particularly moves me (which is rare, really), I feel the need to share it with others. I’ll go more into depth in a bit.

The second reason is that it’s one of Infinite’s most popular songs/MVs. I’m an avid fan of Infinite, and fancy myself an Inspirit (Infinite’s fanclub), and the music video for this song is just plain cool.

So, without further ado, I present to you, “Before the Dawn (BTD)”!

The video starts with a 30 second introduction featuring Woohyun and L (Myungsoo). In these thirty seconds we establish that they are clearly running from something. At the same time, various scenes pop in, of the two fighting each other, supporting each other in their attempt to escape something. The last scene before the song starts shows us a really creepy guy, whom we can’t see because of the shadows, peering down at the two of them, worn down and beaten. *shivers* Did anyone else get shivers form that? The sound effect sure helped with that.

The song starts, and we get awesome dance moves. One thing Infinite is well-known for is their 99.99% synchronized dancing. And man, that is hard to achieve. Staying together completely and perfectly is so much harder than each person having their own choreography. With separate moves, if someone makes a mistake, it can easily be covered up. But if it’s all supposed to be synchronized, even the smallest mistake will be noticed, and could potentially ruin the effect.

Clips of the group dancing are interspersed throughout the video. But that’s not really what we’re watching the video for, are we? (I get the feeling I’ll be eating those words later on… XD)

Shall we continue? The creepy guy is definitely creepy. He stalks forward, easily defeating both boys as they attack him with punches. Yeah… They get the living daylights beaten out of them.

In regards to the actual song, I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the song is the “Why, oh why, oh why” part (1:18). It’s a great lead-in to the chorus, kind of like this buffer zone between then verse and the chorus. Mmmm… A mini bridge, perhaps? Eh. More like, well, and lead-in. XD Can’t think of any other word for it. It just leaves me wanting more, and my want is fulfilled through the chorus. Very nicely done, I think.

Something about this image gives me the shivers… Or maybe it’s the cold drink I’m drinking right now… But in all seriousness, I really like this picture. If I could get a gif of the clip, I would. Unfortunately, I am not skilled in the art of gif-making (it’s more that I can’t find a free program that will do it without watermarking it *le sigh*), so a picture will have to do. I like the contrasting light-dark theme. There is the guy in black pwning them completely with a split kick (which is also kickass, though it’s bad for our boys), in a dark space, with fire raging around them.

Fast-forward through the boys getting their butts kicked, and we come to the actual running part. I’m really curious as to where they are, because the hallway they run through is dilapidated, and the windows have bars on them. A prison, perhaps? That’s my best guess, if the background in the dancing bits have anything to do with the actual MV.

Then again, maybe not… The scene changes and they’re in… a warehouse? So confused… The boys take a giant pole suspended by chains and ram it into the shadow dude’s stomach (ouch, that had to hurt). And then he disappears in a puff of smoke. …Uhhhhh… What?

Okay. This part had me confused for a bit, so I’m going to interpret it in two ways:

1. The shadow man was metaphorical for some hardship they boys were trying to overcome, which they did.

2. The shadow man represented the ghosts of their past that were haunting them.

Neither of those explanations really appease me, so maybe the MV will clear a bit more up.

Only… The boys get right back to beating the hell out of each other. Which only gets more confusing when Woohyun turns around and helps L up and supports him as they stumbling towards the light. Conflicting messages, anyone?

I want to say one thing about this image:

I love the cinematography of it. I think I have a thing for contrasting light-dark theme. It just makes for such a pretty picture! But even more is the symbolism you could put to it.  Woohyun and L are supporting each other, and climbing a hill that leads to the source of the light. It’s kind of like being reborn, in a way. I could take it a step further and say they are being reborn from the ashes, like a phoenix. Only there’s no fire, and I really don’t think they’re being reborn; it looks more like they’re dying. Maybe it’s the point right before? Eh, I highly doubt it.

The conclusion of the MV kinda leaves me heartbroken, in a way.

The two finally reach the top, only to find themselves trapped, still. They can see the outside, but they can’t go there; there are bars on the window.  Even if they could get past the barred window, they would still be trapped in the prison, the same one that all of the dancing parts of the MV took place in. Both Woohyun and L beat against the bars, but there’s no escape.

I’m not sure how others reacted to this ending scene, but I near cried. The music was an a capella voice that ended with a choral voice. And the worst part? At the very end, I swore I heard Woohyun’s muffled shouts as he banged against the bars.

Ugh. Heartrending stories always get to me.

Anyways! So that was the relative plot and what I make of it, symbolism and all.

I mentioned before that I’d read a fanfic where the author took the MV and made a story out of it. It’s the best I’ve found so far, and I did cry while reading it. Left me a lot to think about. So I’m linking her stroy here, because I think more people need to read it. It comes in two parts, which are both linked below.

Part 1

Part 2

Credit: daraprincess on tumblr and mharr016 on LiveJournal (psssst they’re the same person XP). Follow her! >.<

Well, that’s the end of my first music video review! I can’t believe how long I’ve been wanting to do this. Bah, me and my procrastination. =/