Favorite Song: “Lit” - ONEUS
I must admit, I’m an absolute sucker for comebacks that feature traditional Korean cultural themes. As soon as the teaser for ONEUS’s comeback was released, I knew instantly that it was going to be a favorite for the month. Ever since blowing me away with their debut, ONEUS has never disappointed with their comebacks, but I was extra excited to see how they’d master the historical concept. “Lit” holds a great amount of Eastern musical influence in the melody, while incorporating a fresh hip-hop beat to overlay and add a modern twist. There’s no question that ONEUS continues their impressive concept domination with “Lit.”
Favorite Album: Thinking Pt. 1 - ZICO
I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for quite awhile now for a new album from ZICO, so it’s no surprise that it ended up being a favorite this month. I’m quite fond of ZICO’s ability to dabble in many different musical genres, and I’ve been highly anticipating what he would do now that he is leading his own label in KOZ Entertainment. Thinking Pt. 1 does an amazing job of showcasing ZICO’s musical versatility, with the album spanning numerous genres. While it begins with his traditional, upbeat hip-hop roots, the album also contains songs that dabble into the more chill, lo-fi R&B sound. The album also contains some ballad influences and heavier rap melodies that have driven his solo career. ZICO always does such a stellar job putting an album together, and his latest release is no exception to that rule.
Favorite Music Video: “Deja Vu” - Dreamcatcher
I’m always ecstatic to hear that Dreamcatcher is making a return, but I was truly blown away by the cinematography and intense story portrayed in the “Deja Vu” concept. While Dreamcatcher is known for their dark concepts, this is the first time they’ve explicitly dived into the concept of actual murder. While the storyline clearly unfolds between a conflict of power between JiU and Yoohyeon, the viewer is sucked into the wordless story as we are transported through Yoohyeon’s decision to take power and ascend to the ultimate position, though totally alone in a kingdom of ruins. The video paints a very vivid and intense picture, accompanied by a track that features a more prominent yet softer melody than what the group usually presents. The contrast and overall storytelling is brilliant, yet again proving the talent all of Dreamcatcher brings to the table.
Favorite Music Show Performance: “Fear” - SEVENTEEN on M!COUNTDOWN
There’s no questioning that SEVENTEEN are the kings of synchronized dancing, but even so I find myself blown away each comeback from the group. “Fear” is definitely a darker track and concept right up my alley, and yet their performance of the song is what truly brings this track to life. For this particular M!COUNTDOWN performance, it’s the ambiance and matching all-black outfits with chains that complete the whole atmosphere, making for a totally flawless performance. If there’s anything wrong with this performance of “Fear,” it’s that it only lasts a mere three minutes.
Favorite Drama: Rookie Historian Goo Haeryung
After spending a good three months mentally and emotionally immersed in Hotel Del Luna, I decided this month that I needed a break from the overwhelming angst and emotional exhaustion that came along with it. Instead, I indulged in the new drama of one of my favorite blossoming K-Actors, ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, and decided to check out his most recent lead role in Rookie Historian Goo Haeryung. The drama takes place deep in the midst of the long-standing Joseon dynasty, where Eunwoo plays the part of a prince that lives his life in virtual exile, while finding comfort in his pursuit as a writer under the pen name Manhwa. Leading lady Haeryung, known for being stubborn and free-spirited, is played by Shin Sekyung. As a rather unconventional noblewoman, Haeryung and Eunwoo’s character Prince Yi Rim end up coming together and falling in love while fighting an oppressive system. What really drew me to this drama was Eunwoo’s character being the complete antithesis of his last lead role in My ID is Gangnam Beauty. Yi Rim is a bright and emotionally expressive young man with a playful side to him—a refreshing change from the actor’s last role. Though I haven’t had the chance to finish this drama this month, I’m excited for what’s in store moving forward.