The beginning of a new year has been quite exciting in regards to the K-Pop world, with an unspeakable amount of new releases from stellar artists and a drama scene that is once again beginning to pick up steam after the holidays. In a month so full of so much talent, it’s difficult to choose just a few favorites!
Favorite Song: “Bboom Bboom” - MOMOLAND
A rather surprising turn of events, MOMOLAND has snagged my heart with their latest comeback “Bboom Bboom.” I’ll admit that I’ve been distracted enough recently to not pay much, if any, attention to this group before now, but I was pleasantly surprised by what a total bop “Bboom Bboom” turned out to be. The song has been out almost a month now, and it’s still a favorite to go off to in the car on the daily. “Bboom Bboom” is not only an awesome start to the year for MOMOLAND, but a good sign of how the year will hopefully turn out!
Favorite Album: True Colors - JBJ
Now it is no secret that I absolutely adore JBJ, and their most recent album release True Colors didn’t disappoint. The concept of True Colors is in stark contrast to the previous mini-album Fantasy, with a brighter and softer aesthetic in comparison to the mysterious and sexy debut. Members Hyunbin and Sanggyun have a hand in every track on the album, including title track “My Flower.” Songs on the album are produced by some big names like Primary and earattack, and the quality of production really shines through in each song.
Favorite Music Video: “My Flower” - JBJ
The designer in me was absolutely enthralled by the contrast JBJ went with in comparison to their first concept. “Fantasy” was a beautiful video in its own right, and “My Flower” is just as gorgeous, if not more so, with the use of bright colors over white instead of a more toned down, dark theme. Each member has a color assigned to them that fits surprisingly well, and they show their true cute and bright personalities through the song and concept. As someone who more often leans towards darker themes, I was surprised by how much I loved the rainbow cutesy concept from a group of boys that stole my heart with their mysterious and sexy vibes. I didn’t even realize it was possible, but I’ve definitely fallen even more in love with the soft and cute side of these boys!
Favorite Drama: Hwayugi
Ah, the great drama drought is finally coming to its end! December was a difficult month for drama fans, as it seemed everything was coming to an end with no new shows to get excited about.
Hwayugi is an action, fantasy, and romance drama all rolled into one, and marks the long awaited return of actor Lee Seunggi from the military back onto the scene. He plays deity Son Ohgong, a mischievous spirit of the monkey that causes trouble in his wake. He tricks our leading lady Jin Seonmi (played by Oh Yeonseo) into breaking him out of his prison when she is a young child, and ends up making a contract with her that reappears years later. Seonmi is a human that has been able to see spirits since she was young, most of which manifest as demons that torment her. As such she has been isolated for the majority of her life. The story follows her meeting and intertwined fate with Son Ohgong, with a not-so-cliche romance twist added on top of an adventurous and fantastical story that even has horror mixed in. Hwayugi is a modern spin-off of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
Favorite Book: The Two Koreas
Always looking for more information on contemporary Korean society as well as history, I’ve picked up a copy of The Two Koreas, a book on the contemporary history of North and South Korea since the end of the Korean war. Original author Don Oberdorfer was immersed in Korean society after serving in the U.S. Army and has a first-hand account of the effects of the war. The most recent third edition has been revised by Korea expert Robert Carlin for additional accuracy on certain facts and cultural practices. This book is definitely not a quick or easy read; The Two Koreas is technically a textbook and contains approximately 600 pages of information, definitely not for the faint of heart. However, if you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of modern day Korea, this is definitely your go-to for information.
Favorite Product: Nature Republic EXO Lip Balm
Nature Republic has always been my favorite K-Beauty manufacturer, and with winter in full swing the air is terribly dry and chapped lips are a major problem. I’m not going to lie, most of the appeal of this particular lip balm series is the fact that you can choose your EXO bias flavor; my man Lay was pineapple. Although it’s easy to purchase your standard lip balm at any convenience store, this Nature Republic brand is much higher quality and lasts far longer. With a sweet taste, excellent coverage, and your bias keeping your lips nice and soft in the harsh winter, there’s not much more you can ask for in a sweet lip balm!