Thursday, January 1, 2015

Favorite K-pop of the Year - Solos and Sub Units 2014

I always like to put something in front of the actual post, but I am seriously drawing a blank here. I could say something corny about soloists being brave and unique to be their own person instead of hanging out in a group, but I am not really feeling that right now. I guess the only thing that I can think of is that the artists in this list are all over the place. There's folk pop, K-pop, a fake group, and some in between things. So after that awkward intro, on to the post!

Debuts                Comebacks

Favorite Male Soloists

I feel like I have an obscene amount of male soloists in this category (surprise, surprise). I'm not sure what happened and I would try to take out the ones that I have written reviews on, but I haven't written and reviews on them! Then if I take out the ones that I have mentioned in my seasonal favorite posts, I would only have like two or three things to talk about. First world problems. I can always talk about the things that I like multiple times and it's not like people remember things, let's be honest.

I think that a good place to start is with the mid tempo, ballad style songs. Yes, ballads. Every once in a while a ballad comes and smacks me in the face and demands my love and I have no choice by to oblige. I also realize that it is weird to say I was smacked by a ballad since if a ballad was a person they would probably be more like Mr. Rogers and he would never smack anyone.

The song that we are going to start this party with is Park Hyo Shin's "Happy Together". Earlier this year he put out the lovely song "Wildflower" and while this new song is equally lovely, it isn't as sad sounding. It makes you want to be around your family and to dream and just be happy. Since listening and watching "Wildflower" I have come to really like watching Park Hyo Shin sing. You can tell that this is what he loves to do and he puts so much passion into every notes that he sings. It's actually kind of inspiring to watching him.

Park Hyo Shin "Happy Together"

The next two videos both go together because both songs give me the warm fuzzies and remind me that the human race doesn't suck as much as it seems to sometimes. The songs in question are Kim Jin Ho's "People" and Roy Kim's "Home". Both songs also rock the acoustic guitar and have very organic sounds which gives them even more of a homey feel. These songs are excellent for this time of year when all you want to do is stay at home wrapped in a blanket clutching a mug of hot chocolate.

The largest different between the two songs is that Kim Jin Ho's song is brighter than Roy Kim's. Roy Kim's song is more about the darkness of the world and how everyone should have one person that can comfort them. One person that they can go home to and cry with and not worry about life if only for a moment. Kim Jin Ho's song is also about the loneliness and darkness of the world but his message is no matter what, people can come together and laugh and drink and love and make everything better and with that strength, continue to move forward.

Keeping with the mellow sound, next we have the heavenly sound that is 40 with his most recent song "Black". I'm not even a fan of R&B, but for some reason I absolutely love him. His voice is so wonderful and he also writes his songs which is something that doesn't always happen in K-pop, even though I guess he's technically not K-pop.

40 "Black"

Another member of the K-pop but not really K-pop club is the ever adorable Yoo Seung Woo and his equally adorable song "Everyone Else but Me". Seriously, every time this song plays I just start smiling, I can't help it. If for no other reason I am glad that I went to KCON 2013 because he was there. I had no idea who he was at the time but if he wasn't there, I might not have paid him any attention after KCON and that would have been horrible! He is one of those people that makes me worry though because he is so cute and I just want to squish him, but I know that one day he will grow up and it will throw me into a panic because I won't know what to do with a grown up Yoo Seung Woo. Then again, that is what I thought when he put out "Hesitating Lips" and that wasn't as weird as I thought that it would be. Baby steps.

And last, but not least, the Parks! Jay Park and John Park that is. Even though this isn't his most recent song and it is kind of project-y I am going to talk about Jay Park's "Metronome". This is one of those songs that I am not sure why I like it so much but I do. The first time I listened to it I knew that I needed to have it so I could listen to it an obscene amount of times. I love all the different sounds layered together from the back tracks to the three vocalists. There is just so much happening and I absolutely love it.

For our second Park (and that is the only similarity) we have John Park with his song "U" which is lovely and dark and sexy and many other things. Seriously though, there are so many things right with this song from the piano to John Park's "ooh~"ing and I just kind of want to wrap myself in this song. Am I getting a little weird, because I can't apologize because this song is that good. I love it. This song also shows John Park's impressive vocal range as this song is all over the place. It really is too bad that he isn't "marketable" in the American market because he is Asian. Step it up America!

John Park "U"

I'm just now realizing this after completing this section but I am seeing a trend in the male soloists that I like. I have a weakness for folksy mid-tempo pop songs and I okay with that. Give me that all day everyday.

Favorite Female Soloists

If I had to choose between female vocal groups and soloists, I would choose soloists. I feel that soloists have more creative freedom and get to be themselves more because there aren't a bunch of other girls that they have to match, it's only them.

My favorite female soloist on the list is Heyne with her song "Red Lie". I have loved her since her debut song "Dalla" and she stands out from most other soloists. Her voice is so unique and she is good at singing (or her company is good at choosing) songs that compliment her voice. Also, when an artist is so cute, small, and has a high voice, they can easily fall into the "stupid" concept because it is easy. Heyne is being cute while still acting young and fresh and I think that is what attracts me to her so much. She is also really musically talented from what I have heard through the internet. I just wish that she would stop releasing random singles and put out a mini album or something! I need more!

Heyne "Red Lie"
Now for something completely different but with a similar title, we have "Red" belonging to Hyuna. Right off the bat, I'm not the biggest fan of Hyuna or 4Minute but this song is fun. To be honest, a lot of Hyuna's songs are fun but the music videos throw me off because Hyuna is often made into an object and that bothers me a little. This video still had that sexy vibe but it wasn't all sexy faces and lip rubbing, it was sexy and fun. We also all know that Hyuna to this day is still finding different colors of  glitter in her hair. Glitter does not go away.

K-pop is great (obviously, I'm doing this aren't I) but sometimes it is nice to step out of the K-pop sphere and look into other things. It's kind of funny to see that on Youtube a certain artist will have millions of views but then you ask your average Korean person if they know them and they say no. But if you ask them about Park Ji Yoon whose song "Yoo Hoo" doesn't even have 150,000 views, everyone knows her. It's the magic of K-pop.

Towards the end of last year and now this year I have been listening to the Mystic89 artists and I'm not going to say that I love everything that comes out of them, but they are some super freaking talented people. Park Ji Yoon has put out quite a few songs this year and I love listening to her voice. It is so smooth and she knows where she fits and doesn't try to overdo herself. Her videos are also always interesting and relevant to her songs. I think I have a girl crush.

Park Ji Yoon "Yoo Hoo"

The last female on the list and arguably the best one on the list is Yoon Mi Rae's song "Angel". For a second I considered putting this song in a mixed subunit category because any time Bizzy, Tiger JK, and Yoon Mi Rae do things together I consider it to be some sort of MFBTY thing because that is how I was introduced to them. Is the MFBTY name ever a thing anymore though? It confuses me a little. Anyways..... I like this song a lot and i expected to because these people are amazing. I also like the family and togetherness message that the video had. One of my favorite thing to see in any industry in any country is a couple who has made it. So many people get together but can't make it work but Yoon Mi Rae and Tiger seem so happy and I want them to be happy forever and to show people that it is possible to be happy and make a marriage work in this crazy line of work.

Favorite Male Subunit 

I don't know if this really counts, but I'm going to count it. My favorite male sub unit was Big Byung. I wish that I could also say that I liked the ToHeart sub unit, but I was actually a little disappointed when their song came out. I also wish that I could say something good about the GD/Taeyang sub unit, but I didn't like that either! I was actually relieved when GD said that it was suppose to be a BIGBANG song but ended up going to the sub unit. Thank goodness! But then at the same time, whenever I hear it coming out of a store I can't help but want to groove to it. So maybe I subconsciously actually like it?

"Stress Come On" was just such a silly song and it looked like the four boys had so much fun filming it. They are even going to have a "comeback" which I am totally okay with. I look forward to more tom foolery in the future.

Favorite Female Subunit 

Almost done! For these last three groups I'm going to talk about, they are all very loved and very different. From song to video, they all exist in their different areas and they are all awesome.

I don't want to say that it was my favorite but a sub unit that I liked this year was TaeTiSeo's "Holler". From beginning to end there was just so much happening and it was really enjoyable. This whole mini album was pretty good actually when I listened to it. I wasn't paying 100% attention to it when it was on, but it seemed like a good album. New Year's Resolution: listen to full albums more.

TTS "Holler"

TTS was okay, but not my favorite, but this song is my favorite of the three songs and that is Hi Suhyun's "I'm Different". It was fun and jazzy and those are two things that I seem to be geared to lately. These types of songs came out quite a bit this last year and like I have said many, many times, I want more of these types of songs in the new year. Let 2015 be the year of jazzy K-pop!

And last, but most crazy is Orange Caramel's "Catallena". The song was a good song, but the music video is what really did it for me. It was so unique and you could see that a lot of thought went into everything from the sets to the costumes. Even the extra's costumes were amazing. It is a video that you could maybe trick your friends to listen to K-pop. Grab them with a fun video instead of the usual sexy lip rubbing/dancing video.

Orange Caramel "Catallena"

And we're done! Those are some of the songs that I liked the most in K-pop this year. They came out a litter later than I would have liked, but they're out and that is what matters! I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

~ Alora  

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