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Friday, December 05, 2014

Girl's Day - Don't Forget Me / Don't Flirt

I've been feverishly working on my year-end countdowns for the past week, which always makes me think about songs that missed out, but would have found prominent places on my list had I known about them at the time. This is especially true for K-pop, since I really didn't start getting into it until 2012. Even then, I was a newbie so there was a lot to discover. At first, I focused mainly on the male groups. I liked the sound and image better than most of their cutesier female counterparts (still do, actually). This means that a lot of amazing songs fell by the wayside. Honestly, I didn't get around to listening to Girl's Day's catalog for some time, because their name just put me off. I thought: how can I like a band whose name sounds like either - a) a feminine hygiene product, or b) a My Little Pony brand? But name aside, these girls have released some of the very best pop music in the genre. These two songs are both nearly perfect, for different reasons. Don't Forget Me is my absolute favorite, a lovelorn "tears on the dancefloor" anthem with a soaring, knockout explosion of a chorus. Don't Flirt (sometimes translated to Don't Let Your Eyes Wander), on the other hand, is so strange -- a hyper-kinetic, rollicking shout-along pop song that grabs you by the collar and tosses you around for a few minutes. It sounds like Abba on speed. And that is freaking amazing.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy their music here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Halo - Come On Now

Rookie K-pop boyband Halo have been, in my opinion, underrated this year. They're released two mini-albums of four songs each and, unlike most rookie groups, the quality is consistently great. One thing that I love about them is that, when most of their peers are going down a darker hip-hop route, Halo have stuck to a catchy, upbeat pop sound. Now, I'm a huge fan of the dark hip-hop route, so I'm certainly not bashing that. However, it's nice to have some diversity. Come On Now is basically a retread of Exo's massive Growl, but that's okay because Growl was awesome enough that I wouldn't mind hearing dozens of retreads. Plus, while Come On Now has a similar vibe, it's much more lighthearted and fun. The chorus is ridiculously bouncy and catchy and much more assured than other groups with a similar amount of experience/funding as Halo. Add this to Fever, their debut track a few months ago, and they're on quite an exciting trajectory.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the mini album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Take That - Into The Wild

"Some things will never change"

Take That continues to surprise me. According to precedent, bands at this point in their career should be relegated to boring ballads and best-of tours. Even though there are only three of them left in the band, the guys of Take That continue the expansive, uptempo pop direction they'd ventured into with 2010's Progress (aka: their best album). The new record is instant and incredibly poppy -- a testament not only to the songwriting but also the amazing producers that they have on board. Two of the names, Stuart Price and Greg Kurstin, instantly cause my ears to perk up. I could've selected many songs to post today, but I went with the track that stood out the most to me on first listen. Into The Wild is a propulsive pop anthem with a huge sound. I'm not normally a big fan of Mark Owen's voice, and he takes the lead here, but it turns out to work quite spectacularly. The track is actually co-written with John Martin, of Swedish House Mafia's Don't You Worry Child fame. And actually, it would've worked just as well as a big Swedish House Mafia track.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Monday, December 01, 2014

The Fooo Conspiracy - Ballin'

"You've never seen a young kid ballin' this hard"

Well, The Fooo Conspiracy is back again. And thank goodness for that! I love that these guys are following the K-pop model of not only releasing and album this year but now two mini albums. Better yet, the music remains consistently fresh and exciting, even when it veers into the cheese. This is teen pop after all! I've always seen these guys as a dance group that sings rather than the other way around, and that's actually really exciting. It ensures that, while we're not getting vocal acrobatics and trills, the vocals are always engaging, charismatic and recorded to support the beat. Ballin' is one of the guys' goofy, hopefully tongue-in-cheek swag anthems. It starts as typical boyband hip hop before plunging into the mini album's best chorus. Check all sense of seriousness at the door and there will be no way you can resist a hook this loud, even if it's cheesy as hell.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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