We’re closing in on the end of summer and getting even closer to the end of the year. Compared to the previously crazy month, August was a bit more mellow and fitting for the lazy summer season. Still, there were plenty of releases to get excited about this month.
Favorite Song: “My Pace” - Stray Kids
Stray Kids has definitely been catching my attention since their debut and their stint at KCON NY. I’ve anticipated big things from them, and even though “My Pace” wasn’t what I expected from their first comeback, I’ve found myself addicted. While it’s not as intense as previous releases like “District 9” or “Hellevator,” “My Pace” still has its own charm that is very distinctively Stray Kids.
On top of being a total bop, “My Pace” has an awesome sentiment behind it that preaches the importance of staying true to yourself and doing things your own way despite the fear of not keeping up with others. Stray Kids has always done a great job of presenting important principles for the youth, not unlike BTS. Even as a noona fan, I still find comfort in the message the young boys look to share with the younger generation.
Favorite Album: Love Yourself: Answer - BTS
As a long-time BTS fan, I’m always anticipating their next release. I’ve found much solace in their story and its musical storyline, so it was only natural to look forward to the conclusion and what was in store for the Love Yourself series. Love Yourself: Answer was everything I ever wanted it to be. When BTS releases a repackage, they mean a repackage. But the beauty in a repackaged album from this group is that the entire album is telling a story. Listening from the first track to the last in order paints a vivid picture of the main theme behind Love Yourself.
I’ve also found this final round of new songs incredibly influential. Her was all about falling in love with another, Tear was all about that same love falling to pieces because it was built on a lie, and Answer shows that love from another is not the solution to living happily, but that the true path to fulfillment is self love. In a society where we’re often told we’re incomplete without our “other half,” it’s incredibly refreshing for BTS to continue to push a contrary theme, reminding everyone that the true answer to one’s happiness is oneself.
Favorite Music Video: “Now or Never” - SF9
If there were a category for favorite everything for the month, SF9 would take it. Though released early in the month, I’m still incredibly obsessed with “Now or Never.” SF9 has always had the potential to be extraordinary, but their previous release left quite a bit to be desired, especially compared to “O Sole Mio.” I haven’t been this obsessed with a track since the beginning of the year when PENTAGON released “Shine.”
Truly, just about everything from “Now or Never” is completely on point. The choreography (done by my favorite man Keone Madrid) is flawlessly performed, the musicality of the track itself is fresh and catchy, and the concept is a perfect mix of sexy and mysterious that leaves the viewer completely captivated. However, the song gets the category of best music video because everything from the aesthetics to the cinematography is flawless. The bold, contrasting colors are incredibly eye-catching. Mix that in with scenes of beautiful boys executing stunning choreography, and you’ve got a masterpiece. SF9 deserved its first win before, and now again with “Now or Never.” It’s time to stop sleeping on this absolute talent of a group!
Favorite Music Show Performance: (G)I-DLE - “HANN” on Music Bank
With such an explosive debut, there was definitely a lot of hype surrounding (G)I-DLE’s first comeback. While I initially had mixed feelings about “HANN,” the execution of the concept is absolutely gorgeous. On top of the fact I love seeing Soyeon thrive, the group executes the dark concept perfectly. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the powerful emotions behind the song, with the fabulously intense and unforgiving theme of a lost love. There’s no doubt that the girls of (G)I-DLE deserve the title of “monster rookie.”
Favorite Drama: My ID is Gangnam Beauty
I’ve already written a piece on this month’s favorite drama that pretty much fully explains why I love it so much, but now I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to properly express how much I absolutely adore My ID is Gangnam Beauty. The drama is based off of a webtoon of the same name, and I absolutely love the casting of these characters, who all fit their roles perfectly. I never thought I would see ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo playing the most lovable tsundere boy on the planet, let alone totally nailing that personality. He does such a fabulous job at portraying Do Kyungseok’s very subtle facial expressions and mood shifts that it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the sweet, humble, down-to-earth boy. And though somewhat unremarkable at first, Im Soohyang has done an amazing job at portraying potential Mary Sue character Kang Mirae and bringing her personality to life. While not the most popular drama currently airing, this one is worth your time if you’re very much into friends-to-lovers tropes and an emphasis on inner over outer beauty.
Favorite Extra: Horror Dance - SF9
Since I’ve mentioned I’ve been totally obsessed with SF9 recently, I’ve also been obsessively watching all releases from this era. Dingo Music always releases some of my favorite creative video ideas, and they’ve once again outdone themselves with the horror dance of “Now or Never.” As much as I love SF9 full of charisma, I also love watching the members getting scared out of their wits, just to see how each of them react. Sometimes watching super handsome boys totally lose their composure is the best medicine.