Playful heart

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Best Kpop Debuts Part One

I can't remember exactly when I began to think this, but it has been on my mind for a while. The big boys of Super Junior has been a fantastic band, but many of their songs are filmed in very similiar conditions, and their producers seem very careful to prevent them from doing anything new. This is the same case for many other well established boy bands, and a lot of girl bands like Girls Generation. Actually, this might be more of an issue with girl bands - how many songs have you come across that are the usual boy meets girl, for some reason they cannot be together, *insert heart felt dramaticness here*. Alright girls and boys, you've done this storyline very well now, lets have a bit of something new, yeah?

And then suddenly, my hopes and dreams were answered.

This has been a fantastic year for kpop male debuts, (last year the spotlight was on some fantastic female kpop groups!) and they have reached beyond my expectations. The bands that where the most successful where the ones that weren't afraid to be different and avoid the overcooked trends. Music companies in South Korea - please let this be a lesson to you and please give our older bands some love and attention too. (While you're at it, perhaps you could cut the whole slave contract thing and pay your performers a bit more too?) I am going to focus on my two most favourite debuts, B.A.P and Exo.



Ahoy, you've arrived to the land of blond boy band B.A.P, with their fantastic debut single, Warrior.
I love this song.
It's wonderfully manly, it has a different storyline, it has a strange looking bunny smashing up a car.... This video has everything! The song is incredibly catchy, and I love the attempt to make these boys look tough. It's quite hard for a Kpop band to look so macho these days - with all the makeup that is rubbed on their faces but B.A.P did a pretty good job of persuading me.
Also, the rapping in song is brilliant. I usually cringe when kpop songs feature rapping because it usually isn't very good,  but B.A.P is an exception - and they're brilliant. Fantastic debut.

Ah yes, I also found quite a cool dance cover which I think deserves a couple more views~


This is one big debut.
Whatever you may think of this, you can't dismiss that they didn't make an effort when it came to production. Exo is basically a band with two version versions, a korean version, and a chinese version. It's a little confusing, both both groups are fantastic. Exo-M is the chinese verson, and Exo-K is the korean version, and the later is the debuting band above. This band has a lot of trailers, and the company they're under made a huge fuss about them. Fans anticipated Exo's debut, but I don't think amyone expected this!
Compare it with their trailer to the right!
(This one is sung by Exo-M, but both versions are very similiar.)
The point is, the prologue single 'Where is the love' is a very different song compared to the 'MAMA'.

MAMA has a bit of everything in it - a catchy song, chanting, crazy video effects, an interesting but a little weird storytelling (in English) at the beginning... There is a crazy, crazy storyline in this music video that I can honestly say I don't really get, but not that it matters. The power looks cool and the song is very catchy.  I really like Exo's effort with this, and I'm really looking forward to see what they do next.

For further reviews, Eat Your Kimichi has an excellent review below:

The only negative thing about this review is that I personally disagree with the sudden 'screaming' from Kai, one of the members with his face covered in 'tattoos.' That is actually one of my favourite things about the song! Other than that, I enjoyed the review! What do you think readers?

An Cafe is coming back!

Oshare Kei band An Cafe has stolen the hearts of many fans with their energetic music videos and funky tunes, and then shattered them when members annouced a haitus. This haitus has been rolling on for quite some time now, with leader Miku joining a more serious group called LC5, and Kanon joining a project called Kanon x Kanon.

Oshare Kei band "An Cafe"
Miku's new and much darker band, LC5
But to the happiness of a great deal of fans, they have recently confirmed that they indeed will be back! But with such a long pause, what exactly does this mean for An Cafe?

Well, it means they are most likely to be changed somewhat from their earlier themes. If they follow Miku's tastes they may be floating to a slightly more darker style, perhaps more serious than before. An Cafe fans brace yourselves, but don't worry. Your trust in An Cafe should not be mislaid as they always bring out something new and some kind of interesting message. Look forward to their new single but don't expect it to be exactly the same An Cafe you know.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Good music you should listen to: Part 1

Being a fan of kpop and jrock for quite a long time, new band arrivals such as B.A.P, and EXO are quite exciting for me, because they're new and their music supplies the whole genre an added 'boost' of awesome, and fandom. In particular the Hallyu wave has been pumping out quite a strong year of debuts, and sometimes these can block out other, alternative genres that don't get so much a listen to. With the exception of the success of Epik High and Visual Kei, I think it can be the case in both South Korea and Japan, when equally talented artists don't get so much exposure as those who are involved in the pop or rock sphere.
So here's the beginning of a series of posts to try and tempt you to listen to more alternative sound.

And what better way to start of, with the sound of FREETEMPO.
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this music is good for generating a positive, casual mood.

 Even if there are some sadder sounds/themes, Takeshi Hanzawa always includes some kind of reassurance in his music that things'll be fine in the end.
 I had never discovered FREETEMPO until I stumbled it from Youtube, but as far as I can tell most music he makes has English lyrics rather than Japanese lyrics. More information and more tracks can be found at his page on

Next is DJ Okawari who I've only just recently discovered. His music is deeply varied, from composing a beautiful melody on the piano, to making more technical rthymns.

DJ Okawari is a great composer for the piano.
I find it easy to listen to this artist because the sounds are so varied, he doesn't get boring, which I think makes him a very good, original artist.

Another thing with DJ Okawari is that he likes to use sampling in his music, and I think he does this brilliantly. Check out his page here.

Now for a few more alternative sounds you may have missed out on:

I have to especially mention Mutyumu as being particually amazing ^

Hope this was interesting to you.
Part 2 coming soon...