Songs I Missed #13: A Different Format, and a Lot of Kpop

Songs I Missed 13

Good morning, fellow Kpoppers!

As you probably know by now, I get really behind on Kpop releases, and it’s not a good time when I am inactive for months on end and still need to comment on a bunch of them. So, I am trying out a new format so I can point out all the things that are good, the okay, and the bad. It might make things a little more interesting and fun to look at, or it might just be annoying and not that great.

The past few months of Kpop have had a lot of really good singles. The warmer months always seem to bring the best out of Kpop, so it’s super exciting to watch things get better and better. Unfortunately, both SISTAR and T-ARA are leaving Kpop for good, so that has made the past few months sad at times. However, what we have is a lot of music to go through, so let’s get started!

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Ravi “Bomb(s)” His Own Debut in Every Possible Way

ravibomb

In 2015, I was still in my slump with Kpop and therefore ended up ignoring a lot of new releases. One of them was “Beautiful Liar” by VIXX LR – a song I discovered about a year after its release. Composed by Ravi and a couple other people, I felt that I’d missed out on something awesome, and it was part of the reason I even started this blog in the first place. After all, it sucks when a good song comes out and you’re not in on it by the time of its release, but here we are in 2017 trying to change things.

The funny part was that late in 2016 Jellyfish Entertainment released teasers for a new project they’d be doing with the members. I waited in anticipation like just about everyone else, and then I found out that Ravi was going to be having a solo debut. It’s a strange choice, as I never pinned Ravi as a solo act. Sure, he has composing credits on “Beautiful Liar,” but most would agree he’s a terrible rapper. His voice sounds guttural and forced, and his flow goes from decent to virtually non-existent depending on the song. In fact, I felt that his best rap was in “Beautiful Liar” because he was forced to rap slower (and therefore bearable), and for the most part his stuff can be tolerable in VIXX because his breaks are so short they can’t get annoying.

So upon hearing the news of his solo debut, I thought to myself, “This could go one of two ways.” One: he could take some of the shit he used for “Beautiful Liar,” make his own spin on it, and produce something awesome. The other is this could turn into one of the worst things produced this year.

Unfortunately, it was the latter.

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Songs I Missed #3: SHINee, MAMAMOO, BLACK PINK, and more

uh-hey-guys

Uh…hey guys.

So…you may have noticed I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.

And…well…I’ve really got no excuse to give you other than I have a bad time keeping up with comebacks and debuts along with all my other responsibilities and entanglements in real life.

            But I’m back now, and I’m reviewing a large amount of Kpop comebacks to a) get me back in the loop, and b) so I can give my opinion on these comebacks. That means this post is gonna be pretty video-heavy, so bear that in mind as you read.

And now, without further adieu, the comebacks I missed:

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VIXX’s “Fantasy” Has Some Flaws, but is Overall Great

Being in the world of Kpop for about five years now, I’ve begun to associate songs with the seasons. At this time of year, many songs are high-energy and bubbly or intense but bright, and slowly creep into darker, more serious and sad territory by the time fall comes around. This makes August a weird month for comebacks, and it shows with VIXX’s new comeback, “Fantasy.”

On its own, it hits a lot of the notes that VIXX has made a career out of – a dramatic, atmospheric instrumental track, a trend towards the sad and serious, and a concept that carries itself out in the music video. At the same time, though, I can’t help but feel that this song would have been better suited as a late fall or winter track.

Now don’t get me wrong – the song does a lot more right than it does wrong. The instrumental starts with a sad piano in the background, while synth snares and claps give the verses a modern flare. Then, when the chorus hits, the piano is abandoned and replaced by violins and other orchestral instruments that the verses build up for. This, along with the lyrics, which consist of longing for a “fantasy,” that will never come true, give the song a cohesive whole that we’ve come to expect from VIXX over the years. However, there are a few qualms with the song that bother me as a listener. The first verse’s claps and snares seem a little off-beat with the piano and Ken’s vocals, which made me feel off-kilter and left me wondering if something happened during the mixing of the track that the producer just never caught. Next, I felt that sometimes VIXX’s vocals got drowned out in the drama of the instrumental, especially during the chorus, where it feels like Leo is struggling to be loud enough to be heard. Then, the track drops off at an abrupt note at the end where I felt there should have been a piano closing it off.

And then there’s a music video, which is the usual VIXX fare. VIXX is known to be concept idols, which is why there is so much attention to the outfits and the atmosphere of the comeback. This time, VIXX is playing the role of Hades, god of the underworld in Greek mythology. The song itself makes a sympathetic case for the ill-received god, and the music video only furthers this concept. In the video we see the members walking through thorny bushes and getting pierced by them, brooding at a dinner table, and even getting tied up at one point (perhaps meant to symbolize the fact they are trapped by a “fantasy” in their heads they can’t break free from). It’s not nearly to the caliber that “Error” and even “Voodoo Doll” had, but it is still a solid video, and the members look awesome in their outfits. What was most striking was the use of thorns, which shows up as hand-pieces, eyepatches, and earrings. It’s like their tortured state is so ingrained in their being that it comes up as normal pieces of clothing.

Overall, I love VIXX’s new comeback, although it feels out of place for the season. There is a reason that I’ve been following VIXX for ages, and they have yet to disappoint me. I can’t wait to see what the last god in their trilogy is going to be. I’m going to take the guess that it’ll be Zeus next time. Hopefully it’ll be a change from the somber quality VIXX tends to release, because it would be awesome to watch them having fun for a change instead of pining over lost love.

VIXX teases as Hades for their new comeback, “Fantasy”

I’ve been following VIXX since their debut in 2012, and I’ll admit that there was a point I was pretty sure they wouldn’t get that far in the Kpop world as they floundered around with a cutesy concept that worked, but gave them no sense of style. Then, in 2013, they became what people would call “concept idols” with singles like “On and On” and “Hyde,” and have stuck to that route ever since, with a few notable exceptions (“GR8U”). This year, they’ve gone for a trinity of mini-albums meant to represent Greek gods.

Admittedly, I slept on their first effort towards this trinity project, “Dynamite,” which was meant to represent Zelos, the god of jealousy, and only recently have been listening to it more often. However, I’ve been waiting for their next album anxiously, and I am happy to say that VIXX is about to make a comeback with a song called “Fantasy,” which is meant to represent Hades, the god of the underworld. So far, the teaser images have looked promising, but through Naver they finally released a full teaser just a day before the song’s release.

“Fantasy,” looks like it’s going to be a song going towards the dramatic, much like “Hyde,” and “Voodoo Doll,” did in the past. In the teaser there seems to be some deliberate restraint in giving away what the instrumental will sound like. What can be heard are some haunting vocals of the members singing, “Someone help,” and “Fantasy,” along the sounds of church bells among a sparse, dark synth track. The music video itself lends itself to the usual VIXX fare – darkness, interesting costumes with thorns standing as hand pieces, and the like. This comeback looks like it’s going to be a transitional song as we move from the warm summer months to the cooler, drearier fall months.

Here is the link to the teaser, which wouldn’t let me embed it for you guys since it’s on Naver and not your standard YouTube.

 

EDIT: They finally posted the teaser to YouTube, so I’ll include the video here: