Sung Joon – Wake Up

I loved this song the minute I heard it. Wake Up is actually from the OST of Shut Up: Flower Boy Band. In the drama it’s the second single Eye Candy (seriously, that is an AWESOME name!) releases. I actually heard it before I saw the actual episode where it was first introduced, and that just made me even more excited for the rest of the drama. SUFBB remains to this day, my favorite kdrama yet.

I think what I like the most about this song is that most of it is just chorus. Sure, verses are nice, but oftentimes the chorus is what I like best, and it’s what I want to hear the most of. Unfortunately, most songs only repeat the song two to four times, depending on the number of verses and/or bridges that the song has. Not nearly enough to satisfy me. But this song repeats the chorus enough to satisfy me. Also, the verses are short and sweet, leaving more time for the chorus.

Another thing I wanted to talk about was Sung Joon. Now, Sung Joon is known as a model-turned actor. He’s not a singer, that I’m aware of. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he’s got a nice voice. Then again, what’s a good voice nowadays? Honestly, I think that most voices these days, be they Korean, American, English, or whatever, tend to have a similar sound. It’s the ones that are different from the norm (see my review of Kim Yerim’s Circus) that stand out. That isn’t to say that all the ones that sound similar aren’t good. On the contrary; there’s a reason why so many people tend to have similar voices. It’s what’s popular; it’s what people want to hear, love to hear. So it’s by no means a bad thing to sound similar to others. It’s just harder to stand out from everyone else.

Errrr… back to Sung Joon. I think his voice fit this song. It’s got a ice quality to it, and it’s pleasant to listen to.

Yeah.

I honestly don’t have too much to say about this song. It’s a good song, from a good drama, and I just want more people to hear it, and see the drama. Because it’s totally worth seeing.

That’s really all I have to say about this song, so this is a short and sweet review. Yay!

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B.A.P – One Shot

There is so much to say about this song; I don’t know where to begin. Just to warn you: this is going to be a loooooong review.

Okay. Before anything, I need to talk about B.A.P (which stands for Best Absolute Perfect. Pfffft).

Now, B.A.P has a very distinct image, one that stands out from other boy bands. They have a tough, rebellious, bad boy image, complete with the smashing of stuff, and doing no-good things. Boy stuff. The image most boy bands have nowadays is a pretty boy image; flower boys. B.A.P in no way resembles that. They get down and dirty. Literally. It’s definitely a more manly image. Even the maknae, Zelo, who is only 16 years old, is more manly than some guys in other groups who are even ten or more years older than him *coughHeechulcough*. That’s sayin’ something’. Heck, when they first debuted, every single one of them sported platinum blonde hair. And they all rocked it, I might add.

I’ve heard some of B.A.P’s earlier songs, including Power and Unbreakable, and to be honest, the style didn’t really appeal to me. They gave off this angry vibe that I just really didn’t like. I loved the image, just because it was so different, but I didn’t like the vibe that came with it. I know, it’s a contradiction, really.

I guess the biggest quarrel I have with B.A.P is that I don’t like Yongguk’s rapping. Like, at all. Yeah, sometimes a deep voice is nice an’ all, but in this case? Every time he starts rapping (don’t kill me, BABY’s), I cringe and grit my teeth, waiting for his part to be over. I can’t help it. It’s just not a pleasant sound to my ears. To me, it sounds the same as when I’m grunting, or groaning in annoyance at something (not a pretty sound, mind you). Actually, a better comparison is that sound we all made when we were kids (or maybe still do) when we would say “derrrrr” to something that was obvious. You know what I’m talking about.

It just doesn’t feel like a sound any human being should make constantly. As a singer, it feels like that kind of talking, singing, or whatever you want to call it, comes from a part of the voice box that isn’t meant to be used in that way; like, using it in that way is a sure-fire way to ruin your voice. Then again, I’m a girl, and my vocal chords work differently than a guy’s does. So perhaps it’s not as destructive for a guy to sing from that part of the voice than it is for a girl to. It just doesn’t sound healthy, s’all I’m sayin’.

Unfortunately for me, Yongguk is the main rapper of the group, which means he’s probably going to have the most rapping in any song B.A.P releases. *sigh*

Another voice that has weirded me out ever since I first heard was Zelo’s. He’s also one of the rappers, and happens to be the lead rapper (don’t ask me what the difference between the main and lead rapper are; I have no clue. Wikipedia just said that. =/) of the group. His rapping is VASTLY different from Yongguk’s. Where Yongguk’s is a very low pitched, slow kind of rapping, Zelo’s is a much higher pitched, high-speed kind of rapping. I’ve never heard a Korean rapper rap this fast. It’s no wonder I was weirded out the first time I heard it; it sounded like bunch of random sounds that I would when I trill my tongue and sing a high note. No seriously. Try it. It sounds exactly the same. Okay, maybe not the same, but similar! Anyways. When it comes to Zelo’s rapping, it’s a hit and run for me. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. More often than not, I’m just weirded out while being in awe that someone can talk so fast, period.

Okay. I’ve ranted enough; on to the song.

The melody itself is quite catchy. I really like it. With the background chorus, it makes for quite an epic sound. I have mixed feelings about the rapping. The majority of it is fine, even some of Yongguk’s parts, but the very first one still sounds obnoxious and isn’t pleasant to my ears.

Okay. The lyrics. The English. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Seriously, can’t these people at least try and look up the proper grammar, or at the very least, the right spelling, or even better yet, the right pronunciation? I mean, seriously. “You na mean”? What the hell is that? Is that some deformed English slang that Koreans use? I assume it means “You know what I mean”, but seriously. That’s just terrible.

But it gets even worse. “Get you mind out fo’ the gutter”. *blinks* I don’t even know WHAT that’s supposed to mean. When I first read the lyrics, I thought it was a typo, until I saw the exact same spelling everywhere. Seriously. What. The. Heck. This is even worse than EXO’s butchered English lyrics from Mama.

Then there’s the unexplained usage of American historical figures that just gets me soooo confused. The lyrics go “빛을 밝혀 Martin Luther King 처럼” (Romanized it is “bicheul balghyeo Martin Luther King cheoreom”), which translates to “Shine the light like Martin Luther King”. I understand the reference, I just don’t understand why they didn’t use a Korean equivalent of MLK. I mean, this is a Korean band we’re talking about, not American. I’d understand if they were perhaps Korean-American (‘cuz there are plenty of Korean-Americans in kpop bands these days), but every single member is Korean through and through. Why wouldn’t they use a Korean historical figure? I mean, is MLK world-famous or something? I could go into another spiel about how technically, his name is Martin Luther King Jr. and Martin Luther King is the famous man’s dad, not the actual famous man. But I won’t go into that, because it’s just pointless to do so, and a waste of breath… err… space… ink… words. Whatever.

Just overall, I’m appalled but the usage of English in this song. Seriously. Looking into the actual Korean words (I had to read the English translation, of course), I actually like them a lot. They are very strong lyrics. It’s like listening to Eye of the Tiger, in that it’s a song you exercise to, to keep you motivated to keep doing those pushups, chin-ups, rolling-like-a-ball… Okay, maybe not that last one. (I do Pilates, alright?) But seriously. I can see myself exercising to this.

Of course, some of the words make me stop that read it a second time. One such example is the phrase, “Don’t run away, turn and face your faces”. Uhhhhh. ??? But that was really the only line that got me confused. I’m just going to leave it be, since I can’t understand the Korean anyways.

I think the main reason I like the lyrics is because it’s not about a relationship. I once took a songwriting class in college, and my teacher said that the three main topics all songs are about are love, money, and power. We’ve got an over-abundance of love songs (which range from break-up songs, to songs trying to woo lovers, all the way to songs about just plain sex, which I absolutely can’t stand), but not as many songs in the other two categories. Yes, there are plenty of songs about money and power, but there are FAR more songs about love. The main reason is because it’s easy to write about love. It’s easy to write about relationships. And it appeals to the masses. Writing a song about money or power is a little different, mainly because it addresses completely different emotions. Love can address, well, love, but it can also address hatred, passion, obsession, curiosity, shyness, awe, envy, among many other emotions that appear in relationships. Money and power… I’m actually not sure how one would express those. You don’t get as emotional about money and/or power as you do about love. That’s just the human heart. This is why we have so many songs about love. So when a good song comes around that isn’t about love, it stands out. This is one such case.

The music video is something else. Man. First off, it was really long. The thing about the video is that it has three different songs in it. There’s the title song of the album, One Shot, then Coma, and Punch. But I’ve got stuff to say about Coma as well (‘cuz I fell in love with that song), but that will come at a later time. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

It starts off really randomly on a cruise boat. They’re just there… hanging out, I guess. It’s a random way to start the video, and I honestly have no idea what purpose it serves. It has no connections whatsoever to the plot of the MV. At least, no connection that I’ve been able to discern. The story is basically like this: One of the gang gets kidnapped and held for ransom (Youngjae, I think), and in order to get enough money to get him back, the boys steal the money. Except when they bring the money and get Youngjae back, the other gang turns right around and kills him, starting a huge gun battle between the two gangs, ending with everyone dying. Quite brutal, if you ask me. Then it rewinds back to the exchange, and instead of him being shot dead, the SWAT team barges in on the two gangs, and it’s revealed that Youngjae was actually an undercover cop, and everyone gets arrested.

Okay. Lots of things to say about this. First off: I nearly cried during that shoot off. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. It was brutal, especially the part where Zelo coughs up blood (around the 5:30 mark). That was just… urg. Tore my heart to shreds (doesn’t help that, young as he is, he’s my bias of the group, and the only one I can actually put name and face together for). And right before he’s shot and killed, the way he desperately shakes Youngjae just kills me. I actually just recently saw a gif set that made an interesting parallel, though it worked, for some odd reason. The comparison was between Zelo desperately trying to wake Youngjae up, and Simba desperately trying to waking Mufasa up. Both doomed to fail, both really sad (I mean, come one; who DIDN’T cry when Mufasa died?!).

Of course, probably the part that got most people talking was the alternate ending. I’m still a bit confused whether this was, indeed, just an alternate ending for fans who wouldn’t be happy with all of B.A.P dying, or if it was symbolic of something. I honestly don’t know.

The symbolism that people have been talking about is mostly that them all dying the first time around is the kind of loyalty they have in each other, so loyal that they would even die for each other. I can get that, I guess… I honestly think people might be looking into it a tad bit too much. *shrugs* But what can I say? One thing it does emphasize is the amount of betrayal that the boys probably feel.

It kind of annoyed me to have that second ending, to be honest. It confused me to no end, and kind of took away from the impact of everyone dying. I was seriously getting some major feels. But they just seemed redundant by the end of the MV. Granted, a new set of emotions replaced those, though they were still of the heartbroken variety. The only difference was that instead of being heartbroken that everyone died, I was heartbroken at the betrayal. I dunno if that was their aim, but if it was, they succeeded.

The more I talk about this MV, the more cynical I’m becoming. Seriously. =/ I think I should stop before I start spouting random nonsense.

Here are the lyrics. See for yourself just how stupid the English lyrics are, and the translation themselves. For your benefit, I’ve italicized the lyrics that are originally in English. Normal font means it’s originally in Korean, and just translated.

One Shot

One shot, Let me tell you something that you already know.
You just get the rock to me.
You na mean?

There’s only one chance as you walk on this dark path
Shine the light like Martin Luther King
Get your mind out fo’ the gutter
It’s too early for failure, you’re still young
One shot, one chance
There’s no second chance, don’t lose it, get ready now
Hell yeh, challenge yourself, spread your small self out, just do it

One shot!
Are you gonna give in? Are you gonna be caught by the surrounding traps?
Only one shot!
Don’t run away, turn around and face your faces
Even if the world turns away from you
Protect yourself, that’s the right attitude
Everybody already know?
Hey shout your voice to the world?

I can’t step back on this endless path
Woo woo woo, don’t be shaken
I can’t trap myself in this time of confusion
Woo woo woo, there’s only one chance

Only one shot only one shot
Bite down hard and go against them, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
Throw yourself at the world, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
Bite down hard and go against them, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
You only have one chance u know?

Shake your head and say no to being a slave to laziness
All those who don’t try, wake up right now
You want a high position by just sitting in your room?
This isn’t a game – why can’t you separate it from reality?
Oh yeah, go around a track
Time keeps turning and turning, so far away
Only those who are ready can really talk
Staying in the same place will only make your regret when you close your eyes whoa

One shot!
Are you going to be a victim? Are you going to get lost, looking for an easy way out?
Only one shot!
Turn your face to the rough world and clash and fight
Even if the high walls try to block you
Jump over it all, even if you fall every time
Everybody already know?
Hey shout your voice to the world?

I can’t step back on this endless path
Woo woo woo, don’t be shaken
I can’t trap myself in this time of confusion
Woo woo woo, there’s only one chance

The parts of you that are hidden by fog
Burn yourself with passion that’s hotter than the sun
Run and go away, don’t look back
Don’t stop, go away, don’t let yourself go

I can’t step back on this endless path
Woo woo woo, don’t be shaken
I can’t trap myself in this time of confusion
Woo woo woo, there’s only one chance

Only one shot only one shot
Bite down hard and go against them, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
Throw yourself at the world, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
Bite down hard and go against them, one shot
Only one shot only one shot
You only have last chance u know?

U-KISS – Stop Girl

XD Sorry, had to put this picture in…

This song took a few listens before I started to like it. That happens with a lot of songs; when I first hear them, it’s just a meh song, but after hearing it over and over again, it grows on me. As the group whose music got me into kpop, I willingly listen to everything they release. I probably have the most songs by them. I guess it’s more a matter of loyalty. I’m loyal to them because they hold that special place in my heart. Also the fact that they’ve never released a bad song. Sure, I may care for some songs, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good song. It’s just not my style. But I know how to appreciate it. That’s how it is with all artists whose songs I listen to. There’s bound to be songs that I like more than others.

Stop Girl is one of those songs that I like for no apparent reason. In some cases, it’s because of the unique harmonies (this song has those); in other cases, it’s got a catchy chorus (which this song also has); sometimes it’s not even the song that caught my interest, but the dance, or the MV (both of which are pretty good). So this song has all the components of a good song. The only thing is, nothing stands out.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To be equally good in all aspects is a good thing. But sometimes having that one area that excels is what catches people.

The music video is quite simple, actually. There are two different versions: one in color, an done in black and white. Both looks quite good visually, but I like the color one a bit more mainly because I like how they coordinated the colors in it. The only three colors throughout the whole video are blue, yellow (and a yellow gold), and green. Blue and yellow are both base colors, and if you put them together, they create green. Neat idea, there. The yellow is seen in Eli’s hair (okay, it’s blond… but it looks more yellow than the average blond!), and a golden birdcage. The green is seen in a single lamp. Blue is worn by a few members here and there. The presence is very subtle, yet because those are the only colors (excluding the members’ brown hair and skin color) they pop out when they appear.

The black and white version gives off a completely different feel from the color version. It’s darker, mainly because all those blues and greens have become some dark shade of grey. While it’s an interesting effect, it’s a little bit boring. And besides, I always thought the skin tones in black and white movies were a bit weird-looking. I mean, sure, that’s all they had way back when, but it’s still a bit weird to see it now. I prefer my full-color movies.

One thing I have to comment about, though. Okay, maybe more than one. Some of the wardrobe and hairstyles were… interesting… but just didn’t work for me. First example: Dongho. That hairstyle he’s sporting? No, not the sexy one that reminded me of a vampire (and reality show of the same name) when I first saw it; the other one. That ridiculous hairstyle with the absurd bangs and really awesome military hat. Love the hat, but that excessive chunk of hair needs to go. Lyk, srsly guyz. It’s annoying me SO MUCH. Who would ever style their hair that way? *shakes head in disbelief*

The wardrobe complaint I have about Dongho is that suit he’s wearing with that sexy vampire hairstyle. It looks like the people in charge of the wardrobe accidentally ripped one of the sleeves off right before the shoot and didn’t have time to sew it on again, so they snipped the straggling threads and put it on him. The tux would have looked snazzy had it been whole and not had its arm amputated. Yes, you could call it fashion, but seriously. If it doesn’t look good, it’s a fashion disaster. I don’t care if other people like it; that’s their opinion. In my opinion, it doesn’t look good. But lucky for us (me) I can always just avoid looking at it and concentrate on the sexy vampire hair instead. So not all is lost. =D

Another wardrobe complaint I have, though not nearly as bad as Dongho’s, is Kevin’s patterned suit. And man, is it patterned. Not in the classic pinstripes that ALWAYS looks good. No, this is more… unusual. I feel like I’m looking at salt and pepper mixed together, complete with the shapes and color. Either that, or a VERY spotted Dalmatian. Take your pick. I’m not as bothered by it because it goes when the scene he’s in (a chess board with a giant knight in the background). The tiny-ness of the spots on the suit contrast with the large checkered board he’s standing on. Also, that blue shirt he’s got underneath it makes it more acceptable. The thing that annoys me, though, is how much the pants match the jacket. There’s NO END to the dots! But I can overlook that. I can see how some people could pull it off, unlike that amputated tux of Dongho’s.

As you can see, my only complaints about the video are things that the U-KISS members themselves probably had no control over. So it’s really easy to forgive them. It just cracks me up whenever I see that hairstyle, or that Dalmatian suit.

When it comes to everything as a whole, it earns a big fat A+ on the report card. I love this song, and I could listen to it over and over again. And hope that I don’t overplay it and start skipping it every time it comes on. Because that’s happened to songs I love, and it annoys me So. Much.

Yeah. That’s all I have to say about Stop Girl. I might as well put the black and white version in as well, so you can compare the two.

Dynamic Black – Yesterday

The Color of Kpop was a project made for the 2012 SBS Gayo Daejun, an end of the year show that’s always been awesome to watch. The project consisted of four different groups, two female, Mystic White and Dazzling Red, and two male, Dramatic Blue and Dynamic Black. Out of all the groups, the performance that stood out the most was that of Dynamic Black.

The members of Dynamic Black are Lee Joon from MBLAQ, L.Joe from Teen Top, Kikwang from B2ST, Jinwoon from 2AM, and Hoya from Infinite. That’s quite a lineup fight there. On the flip side, the members of Dramatic Blue were G.O, Niel, Yoseob, Jokwon, and Woohyun, from the same bands respectively. That’s also quite the lineup. Three of my biases from various groups are in one of those two groups (Lee Joon, Niel, and Kikwang, FYI). So I was REALLY excited when I first heard about the Color of Kpop project.

Before Gayo Daejun, all four groups released their song beforehand, so I got to listen to them all. However, the only one that I really liked was Dynamic Black’s Yesterday. The rest were just… well… Meh. But Yesterday was angsty, and had feeling to it. I loved it.

Perhaps my favorite part of the song (starts at the 6:17 mark in the video, though my favorite part of that part is at 6:29) is this kind of talk-singing that L.Joe does. I’m not sure WHY I like it… I just do. =/

Even better? Hoya sings. Now, I know he sings in Infinite songs too, but it’s usually not very big art, and not noticeable. Here, however, it is. And I love it. ‘Cuz I like his voice. I wish I could hear it more often (which is why I’m so ecstatic for Infinite H’s debut). But that’s just a side note.

I really like how it starts out with a soft guitar and piano part, and then evolves into a full on up-tempo ballad. Whenever the line “ijen neowa (oh!) nawa (oh!) ui gieogeun modu” I can’t help but do some sort of hand movement (usually an uppercut) on the “oh!” part. Weird I know. But good music makes my body move.

There were some parts that didn’t quite work, mostly because the voices didn’t mix properly in some areas. There were times when (I think, I could be wrong) they sings as a group, but at least one voice stood out from the rest, not blending in with the others as it should when singing with a group. I wouldn’t be surprised if others didn’t hear this; I was in a choir for quite a number of years, so my ears became attuned to things like that. But that didn’t in any way take away from the song as a whole.

So I got to hear the song before the actual performance. But I totally wasn’t expecting the great show that I got during Gay Daejun. The performance started out with a dance number, though it was cool how the members were all placed in cubby-hole-like places, and had a backlight so we only saw their silhouettes. It was a neat effect.

It faded into a video right after, and man, was that video dramatic, complete with all five of them crying blood. Yes. And I think they were all crying over the same girl, ‘cuz one was burning a picture of a girl, while one splattered black paint on that same picture, only in painting format. Another threw his phone at a mirror after reading a text message (presumably from a girl), another whacking the hell out of a bouquet of roses, and the last completely destroying a guitar. My first thought when I saw that guitar being smashed was “What a waste of a perfectly good guitar.” Heh. But yeah. I suspect it’s the same girl, since we saw at least two of the guys with the same picture.

The whole video was actually rewinding, so we see the picture reforming, the paint coming off the painting and back into the can, the phone flying back into his hand, the petals returning to the flower, and the guitar reassembling. The only thing that moves forward is the tears of blood, before rewinding.

Why do I get the feeling that Dynamic Black should have been called Dramatic Black? Dramatic Blue should have been called Dynamic Blue, because their song, video, and performance was a very cutesy (bleh) one. Eh. My opinion might differ from the next person’s.

After the video finishes, the last shot is of the fully-formed guitar. It then fades into that same guitar (or at least a look-alike, ‘cuz I’m pretty sure that one’s a goner), which is then played by Jinwoon. As soon as his little solo ends, though, he takes off the guitar, and smashes it. On stage. My first thought? “What a waste of a perfectly good guitar!” Seriously. How many guitars were harmed in the making of this? At least two. Sheesh. That also reminds me of another famous singer who thoroughly destroyed his guitar on stage. Ringing any bells? Yep. Jimi Hendrix. Only in his case, he burned his guitar on stage. Just as destructive, but quite a bit more hazardous. And another waste of a perfectly good guitar.

The whole performance, the dance, the video, and the song, are all very dark. I’m pretty sure the first background shows Parliament in London… though I could be wrong. At some point, it starts snowing in the background, and it gives the illusion that it’s actually snowing on stage. Then it turns into rain, and the whole stage becomes part of the background. It even makes splashes. It’s just such a neat effect. It seriously looks like the whole stage is covered in water.

I really like their usage of the raised boxes on the stage. Throughout the song, random boxes rise up in the middle of the stage, sometimes with someone on it, sometimes not. It gives different levels, and it really adds to the overall performance, in my opinion.

When it comes to the actual dance of the song, the part that stuck out the most, and that I found myself going back to watch a second time (starts at the 5:36 mark) was during Hoya’s part. The other four all have their backs to the audience, and they’re forming a “V”, with Hoya the center back, facing the audience. He takes a step forward, and the first two stop him. He takes another step, while those two take a step back, and the last two put up an arm to stop the other two. Hoya keeps going, and they all step backwards, as if trying to stop him. Then he runs forward, and the other four all turn around, and pull him back. It’s such a neat image, right there. It looks like Hoya’s about to take off flying, and the only thing holding him down are the other four.

If I were to think about it symbolically, I could say that his dreams are so big that the people trying to hold him back can’t do it without help. It can be interpreted in many ways, and it’s fun to do that, but sometimes over-thinking the meaning behind every single dance move can be a bit overwhelming, so I try not to do it too often. (Now that I think about it, most of the time I interpret a dance symbolically, it has something to do with flying. Take Janus as an example.)

Overall, it was very well executed. Though there isn’t an official music video, I treat the whole performance as one big MV. It was a real treat to see all five idols performing together. I hope we get more collabs like this in the future.

EXO – Mama

Okay. This is a biggie. I have a LOT to say about this song, and I’m going to have a lot of fun talking about it.

EXO is a rookie group that debuted just last year after a bajillion teasers were released. EXO consists of two units, EXO-K, the Korean unit, and EXO-M, the Chinese unit (the “M” standing for “Mandarin”). Their debut song was Mama. EXO-K in Korean, and EXO-M in Mandarin. When I first saw the name, I was all like, “Mama? They’re singing about their moms? Say WUUUUUT?” Listening to the song, it doesn’t sound very… mom-like. I mean, there’s chanting, and just the way they sing the word “Mama” isn’t the way one would sing to their mom. No, I’m pretty sure it means something else.

A thought that occurred to me, and as of right now, remains the most plausible explanation, is that “Mama” is actually the Korean word “mama”, which, in ancient times, is what was used to address the rulers of Korea.

But then I listen to it again, and it still doesn’t seem to quite fit. But it’s a better explanation than the mom explanation, and I haven’t seen any other explanation as of yet.

To be honest, this whole song doesn’t make sense. The English translation of the lyrics confusing, to say the least. Seriously. I had to read each line, like, three or four times before I made any sense out of it. I sure hope that it makes more sense in Korean, or that I just got a really bad translation. =/

Another matter that I’m pretty sure everyone LOVES to discuss is the English in the song. The very first lines of the song start with the lyrics “Careless, careless. Shoot anonymous, anonymous. Heartless, mindless. No one. Who care about me?”

Let me pause there before I add anything. Read those lines again. Can you understand whatever the heck those lines mean? ‘Cuz I can’t. Seriously. If you’re gonna put English into the song, at least have it make sense! *sigh*

But that’s not all I’ve got to say about the English. Let’s talk about pronunciation. Now, I know that some letters are hard for Asian people in general to pronounce, so I can be understanding when not everything sounds like a native English speaker is speaking. So you’re going to get your “heart-eu-less” sounding words every now and then. But to butcher it any more than that is just… astonishing.

So the real lyrics are what I stated above. Here’s what I heard:

“Kehwless, Kehwless. Shoot anonymoss, anonymoss. Haduless, maduless. Nowonuh keh abowme.”

That’s how bad the pronunciation is.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating it a little bit… I understood that the last sentence was supposed to be “No one. Who care about me?”, but the rest of those words were indecipherable to me. When I first heard it, I thought it was a different language – that is, neither English nor Korean. Latin would have been my first guess. After all, it’s a chant. And chants are often in Latin. Well, not often. But most of the ones I know are.

Yeah… I’d say that EXO failed their English course…

On to an even more fun topic: the music video. *rubs hands together in anticipation*

The music video is so much fun, and really well done. There are separate MVs for the Korean and the Chinese ones, but they both start with the nearly-two-minute-long intro. The intro is all in English, and this guy narrates the story of twelve “legends” who guarded the Tree of Life. When threatened by “red force”, the legends split the tree into two, six guarding one half, and the other six guarding the other half (I assume this is in reference to K and M).

The narrating of this story is neat, actually. It almost feels like Morgan Freeman is narrating it. That’s how cool it sounds to me. Then again, that cool voice distracts one from the actual words. The actual words that are said… *giggles* I laugh just thinking about them. Here are the words. They may be slightly different, but this is what I understood them to be.

“When the skies and the grounds were one of legends, through their twelve forces, nurtured the tree of life. An eye of red force created the evil which coveted the heart of tree of life and the heart slowly grew dry. To attend and embrace the heart of tree of life the legends hereby divide the tree in half and hide each side, hence time is overturned and space turns askew. The twelve forces divide into two and create two suns that look alike into two worlds that seem alike. The legends travel apart. The legends shall now see the same sky but must stand on different grounds. They shall stand on the same ground but shall see different skies. The day the grounds be kept a single file before one sky in two worlds that seem alike, the legends will greet each other. The day the red forces purify and the twelve forces reunite into one perfect root… a new world shall open up.”

*giggles* I don’t know about you, but it makes me laugh every time I read it. The actual story is interesting, and I’d read a book if it was about that. And no, fanfics don’t count. Yes, I’ve read plenty of those centering around this whole concept. But no, I’d love to read an actual book on it. Someone get on that. If the copyright claims aren’t too difficult to deal with, that is…

I’m getting off topic.

After the intro, it goes into the song, and this is where the two different MVs differ. While some scenes are the same in both, the majority of it isn’t. The Korean version focuses on the K members, and the Chinese version focuses on the M members. In both, the members each have a magic power, and various scenes pop by with them displaying their power. Powers include earth, air, fire, water, frost, lightning, healing, flight, telekinesis, teleportation, light, and time control. Those are all awesome powers.

Each power is accompanied by a symbol. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how awesome those symbols look. They’re so well thought-out! If I were to get a tattoo (not that I ever would… Too painful, and too permanent. Perhaps a henna tattoo…) I would consider one of those designs.

I really like the dance that goes with this song. It’s very sharp, slick, and very well performed. I mentioned once before that Infinite is known for their highly synchronized dancing, but I think EXO might just give Infinite a run for their money.

There was one part of the MV (and really, the song, too) that I found a bit disturbing. This refers only to the Korean version. It’s when Kai starts rapping. Only, it sounds more like screamo from a rock band. To be honest, I really am not a fan of screamo, hard rock, or anything like that, so I found this part of the song a bit unpleasant to my ears. The music video made it a little bit more… disturbing. During the screamo sections, we see close-ups of Kai’s face – only it’s covered in writing. It’s scary, man. His expression just makes me want to go cower in a corner or something. In the Chinese version, it’s just as disconcerting. Only it’s two different members, ones from M, and instead of writing on their faces, their makeup makes them look almost like demons. *runs and hides*

Just in general the whole MV was very well thought out. It’s easy to tell that a lot of time and money was put into this production. And the result is marvelous. Besides the English, of course. There’s a reason the name Konglish exists…

Anyways. I really like the world that is set up in this MV. Actually, it’s not just this MV. There’s a whole story behind EXO as a whole. I really like the way SM Entertainment is doing this. Basically, EXO comes from another planet (which makes them aliens), and use their powers to fight the evil invading their planet, called the “red force” in the intro. And something about guarding the heart of the tree of life. Errrr… Anyways. I really like this idea; it’s new, hasn’t been done before in this industry (that I can think of off the top of my head), even outside of kpop (meaning, also American pop, which I have coined as apop), and it’s certainly interesting. Very appealing to the masses, I must say.

I’m definitely looking forward to EXO’s comeback. I wonder what awesome storylines, epic effects, and music they have in store for us? I’m stoked.

Here are both the Korean and the Chinese versions:

EXO=K

EXO-M

To end this review, I’ll paste in the English translation of the words. I guarantee you won’t have a straight face after reading them.

Mama

Careless, careless. Shoot anonymous, anonymous.
Heartless, mindless. No one. who care about me?

I guess I have no choice but to tolerate who was lost outside
Even though I close my eyes

MAMA! Answer me, why did the people change
Did they notice the existence of that time
I have forgotten how to just hear, love and care, no longer but lost
Turning their backs while working while living

Full of envy being that anonymous mask
Even after seeing the end, you’re still full with hunger
Are you satisfied now?

Wouldn’t we face our eyes anymore?
Wouldn’t we communicate? Wouldn’t we love?
Tearing up to the reality that hurts
Say MAMA if you can change it, say MAMA

From a day we were behind the bars of a smart prison voluntarily
0 & 1 were used digitally to make my personality
There is no life, feelings and warmth over there, there is only trashy language
There’s a wilderness of a self-desolated one
Loneliness increases as days go by
As human beings we can only be hurt. Yeah-

Laugh, cry all together, holding hands meeting that feeling
Each resemble and connect to each other
If you ever want to recover.

Wouldn’t we face our eyes anymore?
Wouldn’t we communicate? Wouldn’t we love?
Tearing up to the reality that hurts
Say MAMA if you can change it, say MAMA

Turn back!

Die, kill, shout the fight. This is not a war
MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA Help me to Turn back
MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA Aware of Rolling back
Getting hit and back, sharing sides, this is not even a game
MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA Help me to Turn back
Yeah-

Careless, careless. (MAMA) Shoot anonymous, anonymous. (MAMA)
Heartless, mindless. (MAMA) No one. Who care about me? (MAMA)

I’m grateful to be allowed to live in this blessed days
Every day creating new ties
Sharing good love with everyone rather than shattered hearts
If you can still laugh

Wouldn’t we face our eyes anymore?
Wouldn’t we communicate? Wouldn’t we love?
Tearing up to the reality that hurts
Say MAMA if you can change it, say MAMA

Careless, careless. Shoot anonymous, anonymous.
Heartless, mindless. No one. Who care about me?

Taeyang – Wedding Dress

When I first heard this song, I didn’t know that Taeyang was part of Big Bang. Heck, I didn’t even know who Big Bang were, let alone what their songs were. Yes, I first heard this song way back when I was still sticking my toe in the waters of kpop. It wasn’t until much later that I actually started listening to Big Bang’s songs. At least three of the five members have solo careers (G-Dragon, Seungri and Taeyang), and G-Dragon and T.O.P did an album together as a sub-unit. So this group has done a lot of solo activities.

I actually haven’t heard very much from any of them, really. Wedding Dress is the only song by Taeyang that I know, and Crayon and That XX are the only GD songs I’ve heard. I haven’t heard anything from Seungri, or GD and T.O.P’s collab album. I really need to get on that… -_-‘

Anyways. I really like Wedding Dress. I’ve always like ballads, and this is no excetion. However, this song is a really sad song masquerading as an upbeat ballad. Because, MAN, are the lyrics sad. Pretty much a guy has to watch the girl he loves marry someone else. Let’s see… How many dramas are out there with that exact plot? How many fanfictions? Yeah, it’s a commonly used storyline. Only most of the time we’re used to seeing the second lead having to watch the girl marry someone else (and get major Second-Lead Syndrome because of it). In this case, the second lead is our main lead, in this case, Taeyang.

The music video just homes in on it, and is even more heartbreaking. At the very beginning of the video, we see him getting all dressed up and ready for a wedding. Scenes of him and his lady love spending time together, and looking quite intimate, flash by every so often. When he gets to the church, people congratulate him, and the bride looks at him with a smile.

And then the groom comes to her side, and we find out that it’s not his wedding, but his best friend’s. Then we go back to those same scenes, where we see that the best friend was there every single time. The pain on his face as he watches them being lovey dovey are heartbreaking. Turns out he’s there to play the piano. I don’t know why I get so much satisfaction at seeing the groom’s annoyed face as Taeyang sings, almost as if he’s singing this very song at the wedding. What a way to crash a wedding: confess to the bride in your musical performance.

In a flashback we see him pulling her out of a club to talk to her, rifling through his pockets for something, when the friend comes out of nowhere and slips a ring on her finger, pretty much proposing to her. Flash back to the wedding, and we see him take out a ring. OOF. That’s just cruel. He was about to propose, and then the friend comes and steals his thunder? That’s even more hurtful than if it was just an unrequited love that he had to courage to pursue. He was about to, but his friend beat him to the punch. The image of the ring falling to the ground is so lonely.

Depressing, no?

As for the song itself, the one part that catches my attention is when it sample a bit of the wedding march. When I heard it, I was amazed at how well it fit into the song. And how appropriate is it that the wedding march is in a song called Wedding Dress? Very well done, I think.

The dance is another thing that I like about this song. I’ve been trying to learn the dance for a while now, and man, is it fun to do. It’s just hard. For me, anyways. I’m sure other people who are actually good at dancing hip hop wouldn’t find it hard at all. But me… I grew up doing ballet, so it’s hard for me to get rid of that rigid posture, and switch to the more loose feel of hip hop. But hey, I’m having fun, and that’s all that matters!

That’s all I have to say about this song. I’ll put the English translation of the words below. Read it and weep.

Wedding Dress

I would argue
Then you would cry
As you’re struggling, I would only get stronger
My heartaches behind these shadows
My face brightens up as I see your smile
I worry that you might notice my feelings
And I get scared that the gap between us would widen
I hold my breath
Then I bite my lips
Then I pray that she would leave his side.

Baby, please don’t hold those hands
Cuz you should be my lady
Please look at me, I’ve been waiting all this time.

Once the music ends, you’ll be with him forever
I prayed and prayed that this day wouldn’t come
The wedding dress you once wore
The wedding dress you once wore
The wedding dress you once wore

You, who never understood my feelings
Because of that, I ended up despising you
Then I wished a misfortune upon you
But now, my eyes are dry
I try to talk to you but I realized that I’m alone
Every night, I would look back and think
If I already knew the results
Then I close my eyes
Then I dream an endless dream
Then I pray she would leave his side.

Baby, please don’t hold those hands
Cuz you should be my lady
Please look at me, I’ve been waiting all this time.

Once the music ends, you’ll be with him forever
I prayed and prayed that this day wouldn’t come
The wedding dress you once wore
The wedding dress you once wore
The wedding dress you once wore

By all means, be happy with him
So I can move on
Please erase me out of your heart
Although I tried my best but, no oh~

I’ve been living the lies for too long
Yet, she would look at me and smile.

BoA – Eat You Up

I mentioned before that the song that got me into kpop was U-KISS’s Neverland. But that actually wasn’t the first contact with kpop I ever had. No, my first contact with kpop came years ago, back in 2009. I just didn’t realize at the time that I would be sucked in as viciously as I was just a few months ago.

I’m not sure how I heard Eat You Up by BoA for the first time. All I know is that I loved the song, as well as the music video. I loved the MV so much that I bought it off of iTunes, even. It remains, to this day, the only music video I have ever bought off of iTunes.

I’m not sure this song can be considered kpop. It was one of BoA’s English releases. The words are completely in English. Can it still be considered kpop if it’s not even in Korean? Depends on the situation. In this case, I say yes.

I get the feeling that a lot of this post won’t be about the actual song… so bear with me, alright?

In summer of 2009, I was actually in South Korea for a month and a half. I’d just graduated from high school (I skipped my senior year, and turned 17 later that year… I’m not a genius, trust me… I just homeschooled). I find it funny that I was in the very country that I would one day want to live in, and yet had no inkling that I would develop such a keen interest in Korean culture, language, and of course, music, dramas, and entertainment. I never would have imagined it at that age. Amazing how in just three and a half years so much changes.

That’s enough reminiscing on my part. On to the actual song.

There are actually two MVs for this song, named Version A and Version B. My favorite of the two is Version A. To me, it’s more visually appealing, and the effects really make it a neat video. And they look like they’re having so much fun! Can’t forget the foreigners in it, as well. Yes, non-Asians are in this video. And it works! I mean, I’ve seen videos where non-Asians have been in them, but it was just awkward and it really just didn’t work. But in this video, it worked out just fine. Kudos to the director.

I don’t think there was an actual synopsis for it, but the location was at an audition, presumably for some prestigious performing arts school. BoA pretty much crashes in on it, and the room literally explodes. Well, parts of the room, anyways. Even one of the teachers’ glasses explodes (I laughed when I first saw that), all while she is dancing in the middle of the room. Perhaps the best part of it is when the chandelier comes crashing down. The impact causes a fire to start, which sets off the sprinklers. Visually it’s a neat video, which is why I like it better of the two.

Version B was a bit more boring for me. Honestly, I can’t remember it very well. Whelp. I’ll just put both MVs in. See for yourself, and choose your favorite.

Version A:

Version B: