Looking back, a lot of amazing stuff has happened this month! As a huge boy group stan, March was nothing short of a blessing for releases. So many boys, so little time. It was especially difficult to choose favorites!
Favorite Song: “Jealousy” - MONSTA X
Admittedly, I am almost always a big fan of MONSTA X’s releases. Since the group debuted in 2015, I’ve been following along with them on the roller coaster ride toward success. MONSTA X possesses the intense hip-hop sound that I gravitate toward, and “Jealousy” definitely encompasses this sound along with traditional pop elements. Like many of their other songs, the hook to the chorus is incredibly catchy, and the addition of the whispering in this song is a nice touch. It’s also quite different from previous release “Dramarama,” proving MONSTA X’s musical versatility as they manage to release title tracks with different tones.
Honorary shoutout to Jung Ilhoon’s “She’s Gone,” which takes a close second for favorite song this month. So nice to see my BTOB bias shining solo!
Favorite Album: Eyes On You - GOT7 & Hope World - J-Hope
Any month where GOT7 returns to the scene is a good month, in my opinion. The group never disappoints with their album releases, and Eyes On You is no exception to that. Pre-release track “One and Only You” was a treat in that it featured former SISTAR leader Hyolyn. “Look” is an incredibly catchy title track that goes in a different direction from previous title “You Are,” in the best way possible. It’s pretty awesome that the title track was also written by leader JB. The B-sides that have members contributing on them in some way are as enjoyable as always, and the overall musical versatility of the album is fantastic.
The predicament of this month is that it was impossible to choose a favorite between GOT7 and the long awaited release of BTS rapper J-Hope’s mixtape. The overall sound of Hope World so perfectly captures J-Hope’s personality, with a brighter and bouncier side of hip-hop that wasn’t heard in his group counterparts’ mixtapes. I, for one, am a big fan of the ‘90s sounding hip-hop focus of title “Daydream,” which isn’t often heard nowadays in hip-hop releases. It’s nice that J-Hope provides a brighter view on hip-hop and really allows his personality to shine through his music.
Favorite Music Video: “Candyland” - UP10TION
I was really happy to see a good release from UP10TION after many months without them on the scene. “Candyland” is a super catchy song, but I’m really blown away by how gorgeous the music video is. The boys really nail the more mature concept, and the dark colors highlighted with neon are my favorite combination. The concept is borderline sexy, yet still maintains a certain level of sophistication. The creative director did a stellar job on video aesthetics, outfits, and choreography that all together fit the concept of “Candyland” perfectly.
Favorite Music Show Performance: “BOSS” - NCT U
There’s no doubt that NCT has been dominating the scene since finally appearing as a full group for the first time since debut. The NCT frenzy began last month with the NCT U music video release of “BOSS,” and has continued through March and led up to the full album release, with additional title tracks from NCT 127 and NCT Dream as well. I have been obsessed with “BOSS” since it came out, and the music show performances of the song have only made those feelings stronger. The outfits are always on point with the overall mood of the song, and the snappy choreography is eye-catching and performed flawlessly by the group. I hadn’t planned to end up so sucked into the NCT world, but there’s no denying they have an unbelievable allure to them that continues to show time and again with each new release.
Favorite Drama: Tempted
Listen, I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for Tempted to air since I first got wind of a drama starring Red Velvet’s Joy and Woo Dohwan. Dohwan captured my attention for his awesome acting skills in Save Me, and I was excited to see him play a totally different role in a totally different drama. What I hadn’t been prepared for was the level of pure sexiness that Dohwan seems to emit as he portrays his character Kwon Shihyun. It was totally unexpected, but certainly welcome.
I’m also quite a big fan of Joy’s character Eun Taehee thus far, as she has already uttered the legendary line “What are men, anyway? Will you die if you don’t date?” Not to mention the scene where Shihyun shows up outside of her apartment with flowers and she calls the cops on him. Legends only.
Favorite Book: A Concise History of Pre-Modern Korea
I’m back this month with another book on my reading list! A Concise History of Pre-Modern Korea is literally the only text that I could find that covers the history of Korea. In comparison to the interest in the history of neighboring countries like China and Japan, there’s very little attention placed on the growth and history of Korean culture. Try googling any other book on pre-modern Korea and you’re guaranteed to come up with nothing but this piece (at least when it comes to English texts). Coincidentally, author Michael J. Seth is also a history professor at my alma mater, which I was delightfully surprised to discover. JMU represent! In the introduction of the book he makes a point to highlight how much research went into this, including time spent in Korea and direct translation of Korean texts. If you’re a history nerd and your interest is piqued by the elusive history of Korea, this is definitely the book for you!
JBJ Fresh Sachet Set
As an incredibly vocal JBJ stan, you can imagine how completely emotionally destroyed I was when news broke that their contract would run out on April 30th without renewal (I THOUGHT WE HAD MORE TIME). Besides spending the week the news broke out as completely distraught, I turned to internet shopping to ease my pain, only to find the JBJ Sachet set from their first (and ONLY) tour on sale. As fans know, the boys each created their own scent for the True Colors album, and fans were gifted one random sample scent. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been carrying my sample of my bias Kenta’s sweet perfume everywhere with me since I discovered it in the album.
I was so delighted by how wonderful and unique this product was, and I feared the day when my sample lost its scent and I wouldn’t have it with me anymore. JBJ’s Fresh Sachet set is everything I’ve ever wanted, providing me with not only my favorite sweet, strawberry boy Kenta’s created flavor, but the creations of the rest of the members as well. It’s not the same as having the boys around for a little longer, but it at least is a bandaid to put over the wound of inevitable disbandment with a sweet and unique memento.
Hwayugi Son Yookgong Plush
Hwayugi has been one of my favorite dramas to air this year and like many other viewers, I also fell for the unpredictable monkey deity Son Ohgong. I’m a huge sucker for plushies, so the moment he presented Jin Seonmi with the cutest stuffed monkey plush in place of himself, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.
Ohgong even gave him the name Son Yookgong, which is unspeakably adorable. In the Sino-Korean numbering system, “Oh” represents the number five and “Yook” represents the number six. Isn’t that pouty frown on Yookgong just the cutest thing ever? I was absolutely thrilled to learn that I could own my own tangible plushie that reminds me of such a cute storyline every time I look at him.