It still seems somewhat surreal, but we’re just about to be halfway into the year of 2018. While it didn’t seem like much was going on this month Hallyu Wave-wise, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good of a month it’s been for releases.
Favorite Song: “Latata” - G(I-DLE)
I was actually quite surprised with how much I enjoyed the G(I-DLE) debut, not because I expected it to be bad, but just because I hadn’t given the group much attention beforehand. I seem to have an affinity for the female rappers at Cube Entertainment, as I fell in love almost instantly with Jeon Soyeon’s rapping talent.
“Latata” is a very catchy tune that gets stuck in your head, and it is definitely going to be one of the hot tracks of the summer, with its unique R&B sound. It’s a very strong debut for the group that is definitely gaining attention for the talented girls. If you haven’t listened to “Latata” yet, you’re definitely missing out. The girls even got their first music show win last week on this debut track!
Favorite Album: Love Yourself: Tear - BTS
On one hand, as a vocal BTS stan it’s no surprise that their latest album Love Yourself: Tear is my favorite of the month. But on another hand, I wasn’t the biggest fan of previous release Love Yourself: Her in comparison. That’s not to say that it was bad, I’ve just gotten used to a certain standard when it comes to BTS (the HYYH era will forever be the Queen).
I really enjoyed the different musical sounds that went into this album, from the emotionally intense “Fake Love” to the smooth jazz beat of “134340,” the heartbreaking ballad in “The Truth Untold,” the Latin vibes in “Airplane pt. 2,” all the way to my adored aggressive rap focused sound in “Outro: Tear.” While some have criticized the album as being too pandering to Western popularity, I find that the musical versatility on this album really shows what BTS is capable of as artists. They cover so many different sounds on a single album and do it well in a way that we don’t see from other artists.
I think it’s important to recognize that BTS remains true to their artistic outlook despite an ever-evolving popularity and constant notoriety, and I think that principle really shines through in Love Yourself: Tear. I’m really proud continuing to see these boys grow and mature musically.
Favorite Music Video: “You And I” - Dreamcatcher
Ever since Dreamcatcher caught my attention with their debut in “Chase Me,” I’ve eagerly waited for their comebacks every time they are announced. I absolutely adore the gothic concept that they aim for. But I must say, previous release “Fly High” was somewhat disappointing for me in this realm, so the stakes were high for “You and I.”
Of course the haunting, dark visuals hit me right in the heart and I fell in love. The girls stepped it up with the addition of what could be interpreted as a demonic ritual in the video, as well as additional props added to the choreography that contrast the simply colored outfits. I really just love everything about the visuals in “You and I,” and couldn’t be happier to have my goth queens back.
Favorite Music Show Performance: “Shine” - PENTAGON
Real talk: I’ve been absolutely obsessed with PENTAGON’s “Shine” since the moment I first heard it. I’ve been avidly watching all of their stages since, through their entire six-week promotion period, and I still haven’t gotten tired of the catchy track.
This M Countdown performance in particular, though, is my all-time favorite. From the very beginning when E’Dawn is playing a toy piano and smiles brightly at the camera, to Kino throwing confetti during Yanan’s first vocal part, to Wooseok’s sudden appearance with the PENTAGON light stick, to Hui and E’Dawn’s cute couple dance toward the end, everything is about as precious and lovely as it can get.
I don’t care how bad your day was. One view of this music show performance, and all your life’s woes are cured. Also, stan PENTAGON.
“Black on Black” - NCT
Of course I can’t pick just one when the full lineup of NCT is out here performing in all black. It’s almost impossible not to be struck speechless not just by this choreography, but how all 18 members even fit on a stage to perform it. I swore SM Entertainment wouldn’t ever snatch me again, then NCT happened.
“Black on Black” isn’t exactly the most musically driven song, as it’s clearly made to focus on the actual performance. There are no vocal parts, only rap from Taeyong, Mark, and Lucas. Dance king Ten also gets a solo mid-track, which is saying something when you’re competing with 17 other stellar performers. I feel that I don’t have the right words to convey just how epic this performance is.
Favorite Drama: Radio Romance
I’ve truly been unable to stop gushing over Radio Romance since I reluctantly found myself watching it one evening, which quickly turned into a venture lasting well through the night. I never expected to adore Radio Romance as much as I do, but just about 15 minutes in and I was already hooked.
There was some concern with Yoon Doojoon of HIGHLIGHT playing the lead character without much experience in the realm of acting, but he did an amazing job portraying the emotional depth of his character Ji Suho. Similarly, Kim Sohyun plays an extremely lovable female heroine who faces so many obstacles, yet doesn’t seem to know how to quit. The realistic strength that she possesses is incredibly relatable, and the romance between the two main characters may be one of the most pure out there.
Sometimes life is just too much and we need a sickeningly sweet love story to follow.
Favorite Book: Blonote
It’s been out for quite awhile, but again this month I decided to dig up my copy of Tablo’s Blonote. Tablo of Epik High has always been a major source of inspiration for me, so when I first heard that he was releasing a book full of positive and inspiring quotes in both Korean and English, I was eager to get my hands on a copy.
The Blonote is more like series of poems rather than a book itself. Each page contains one little nugget of wisdom that can have you pondering on its significance for quite awhile. There’s more than a few in there that struck me particularly deeply. The cool thing about it as well is that he has some of the quotes written by their speaker, sometimes fellow idols and sometimes fellow authors.
I know I’m not the only person who considers Tablo something of a father figure, and if you do as well, I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book. I find it to be a source of comfort in difficult times.
Favorite Video Special: Drunk Live with VIXX
Listen, my month is truly made whenever Dingo Music comes out with another tipsy live segment. If you’re not yet familiar with tipsy live, it’s a video segment on Dingo where idol groups are filmed performing their title songs after having quite a few bottles of soju and beer, as well as enjoying a wonderful dinner! All of my dreams really came true seeing N and the rest of his VIXX members drunk.
This episode is especially a treat in comparison to previous ones as we are given footage of VIXX playing drinking games and performing the infamous cleopatra game while drunk before performing latest single “Scentist.” As a healthy adult female, I’ve had my fair share of experience with alcohol, and as such I believe it brings out the true personality that people often try to hide. In a world where idols must be shown to be perfect and flawless to the media, tipsy live is a great segment in that it shows the more human side of idols that we can all relate to.
Plus, all the VIXX members are loud and happy when drunk, which I love to see when they are always under so much pressure. Side note, did I really count 13 bottles of soju and beer empty on that table? The boys must have had a fun morning after that one.