On the topic of K-pop girl groups

The thing I like about our connection – us as the bloggers and you as the reader – is how quickly we acquaint you with our interests. It’s amusing to me, horrifying to you maybe, but it has always been this way since the day this blog was born. If you’ve been keeping up or if you need a refresher, we recently got into K-pop. You might have seen a few hints here and there, which led to the ultimate reveal that inspired several more posts.

To start off my HeeChul ramble (because HeeChul is best known for his girl group mania that is not too far off from my own), I started off my K-pop adventures with one girl group and that spawned a musical expansion into other girl groups. From the vibrant stage outfits to the outrageous hairstyles and hair colors to the catchy and modern songs to the impressive and effortless dancing, K-pop was so darned appealing that I couldn’t help falling into the spell that captured the hearts of other young people all over the world.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I was initially hesitant about getting into male groups because I didn’t want to feel weirder than I already was if I were to, let’s say, fall for some cute K-pop dude with thick eyeliner, blue contact lenses, bleached blond hair and flawless foundation on his face (of course my worries were not uncalled for and that’s the truth now, HAHA), so I listened mostly to girl groups. I even have ‘biases’ a.k.a favorite members for each group. I’ll go ahead and introduce them to you now:

aoa

Choa, Chanmi, Hyejeong, Seolhyun, Yuna, Jimin, Mina

1. AoA

Having glimpsed the word ‘AoA’ on a friend’s Twitter update before a long flight, I found myself listening to my first ever K-pop album, Like A Cat. I was hooked after the first listen and danced all the way until touchdown in California. It was no surprise that I was curious to see who these girls were. Song after song, I was impressed and completely captivated by the dances and fashion. It didn’t help that there were so many dance practices out there. This is random but I wanna know what hair products the members use and what I can do to get hairstyles like that.

Favorite member: ChoA. Favorite song and dance: Like A Cat (Fun fact: I listened to this song more than 100 times within the first month I discovered it).

mamamoo

MoonByul, WheeIn, Solar, Hwasa

2. Mamamoo

After much dabbling, I discovered a group that did not fit the mainstream girlish or sexy image that the K-pop scene was overflowing with. When I think of Mamamoo, I always think Christina Aguilera. Strong vocals, jazzy music, and fabulous dance moves. While I’m not a fan of the rapping in their songs, I’m a big fan of their energized performances. They always look like they’re totally into their dancing. They also seem to have genuine camaraderie, which is evident in their on-stage interactions.

Favorite member: WheeIn. Favorite song and dance: Piano Man. Special mention: Mr. Ambiguous.

iu3. IU

It took me a while but I warmed up to IU’s music after listening to her latest album, Chat-shire. She has a whimsical and girlish style and very unique voice, and her music is what I would describe as ‘fairytale’ genre. That’s not even a genre but if you listen to her songs, you’ll see why. I think she pulls off simple and casual fashion very well, nothing too bright and bold yet nothing too plain and boring, and it really suits her image.

Favorite song and dance: Twenty-three. Special mention: Glasses.

dal-shabet

Subin, Ah Young, Serri, Woohee

4. Dalshabet

They had a few controversies with their dance moves previously, but I think they are doing pretty well now. I was first introduced to the genre ‘jazz swing’ through one of the songs, and now every time I see any song that has ‘swing’ in it, I catch onto it and devour all that musical goodness.

Favorite member: WooHee. Favorite song: Someone Like U (love their suit jackets). Favorite dance: Have, Don’t Have (The crazy fashion and makeup describes everything I love about K-pop styles). Special mention: Ya Heart (their latest song and so good!!)

apink5. APink

I was searching for 80s-inspired K-pop songs and found APink! I love the music in all their songs and I also love their girly image. They recently released a new song and the maturity is obvious in their dancing and fashion. Fun fact: This is the first girl group my sister has actually listened to more than twice.

Favorite member: Eunji. Favorite song: Only One.

girls-generation

Yuri, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Yoona, Taeyeon, Sooyoung, Tiffany, Seohyun

6. Girls’ Generation

What would this list be without the female counterparts of Super Junior, right? I initially wasn’t a big fan of theirs. Gee was my first ever K-pop video in school which I quickly forgot about. Like SJ, everyone around me talked about them but I didn’t really think too hard about who they were. I actually heard their songs in Daiso this summer and somehow recognized Taeyeon’s voice even though I probably only listened to one of her songs. I just knew she had a strong voice and sorta guessed it was her? Anyway, their songs made me want to dance badly and dancing is a good thing so that’s how I ended up liking their songs.

Favorite song: Galaxy Supernova. Favorite dance: Mr. Taxi (my summer workout jam!!). Special mention: Mr Mr. I don’t have a favorite member but…

I watched several of Taeyeon‘s videos during summer and kinda liked her song called ‘I’, came back to that song after summer, ended up watching more of her videos, and falling for her other song ‘Why’, which introduced me to another genre known as ‘house’ or ‘tropical house’ that is apparently all the rage now (where, though? The radios are congested with mainstream pop?).

Favorite song: Good Thing. Favorite dance: Why (When I think of the dance, I think of the word ‘contemporary’, I don’t know why but I love the dance at the second verse and especially when the male dancers lift the female dancers up and they do that cool kicking thing that suits the song so well; you can tell this is my favorite of all favorites because I’ve become super wordy).

Well, that’s all I have to say about girl groups. I feel like their music has really diversified my taste. When I first started listening to K-pop, I felt really special because the songs were totally unlike the Japanese and English songs I like. It has really opened my mind to a lot of genres and, musically, I really love that.

But wait…

I have a surprise on this list?!

shinee

Jonghyun, Taemin, Minho, Onew, Key

SHINee is my latest male group muse. It was unexpected but it’s great! Another name I’ve been hearing for years yet did not think too much about. I actually thought they were Japanese before this (check out Jonghyun’s Ring Ding Dong era hair). My sister and I tried to watch their videos but I was having a mini K-pop burnout where pretty much everything I listened to sounded the same. Then I was at a point where I was looking for new music and saw that SHINee was having a comeback and somehow I had a sixth sense that I would like their new song. And I did!

I’m finally understanding what a SHINee trend is because I’m totally in love with their fashion sense!! If I were a guy, I’d be making fashion choices based on these guys’ casual and colorful styles. I don’t have a favorite member as of now but Key seems cool and I really really like Onew’s voice.

Favorite song: 1 of 1. Favorite dance: View. Special mention: So Amazing.

It’s been so hard to choose between all the songs and dances because I really love all of them and I’d love to share all of them with you. And I’m sorry, not sorry that this post totally gave away my taste in fashion. I’m working towards being more carefree about my own opinions but that’s a story for another day.

As I’m proof-reading this post, I realize that I have a thing for main vocalists and that most of the songs I’ve mentioned I’ve spammed the repeat button for days and weeks. That means I’m recommending good songs, guys!! I hope I helped someone find new music, if not I’m just pleased that I managed to write about something I like.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Big Bang – no, not the scientific explanation

Falling in love with Korean music has been one of the many turning points I’ve had in recent years. There’s more variety in my playlist now and it’s a good thing. In the last week, I have discovered yet another band that I would have been uncomfortable admitting I had feelings for 10 years ago. Nope, not that person anymore.

The big reveal? Big Bang.

Big Bang - no, not the scientific explanation

Daesung, G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Seungri

I feel like I should be shocked at myself but somehow I’m only surprised and tickled. Not ashamed, either.

I know Big Bang. After the explosion of K-Pop 10 years ago, Big Bang became one of the names I couldn’t miss in conversations, tweets, and whatnot. I ignored it all. I had no interest in Korean bands. I was also a judgmental teenager who didn’t quite know how to accept others who weren’t like her. I may cringe at the thought of my old self but I don’t hate myself for that; I can only be happy that I’ve become more open and accepting of others for who they are and what they like. It’s all in the process of becoming a better you and I don’t think it’s ever really too late to do that. Aaand I’m traipsing down the ‘digression’ path again.

Before this, I only knew Big Bang by name. I knew little else about what they had to offer. I had no idea the band comprises of 5 members or that G-Dragon is in the band or that their song ‘Fantastic Baby’ loved by my classmates and my sister’s classmates is by them or that they’re under YG, another famous South Korean entertainment company. I simply thought all popular K-Pop bands were under SM Entertainment and the less famous ones were not lol. Having stopped following mainstream news, I had no idea their latest songs hit #1 on so many charts either.

I recall my sister and I trying to watch one of their music videos a few years back. We couldn’t make it through the halfway point of the video before we closed the video. Some things are an acquired taste. Big Bang might just be one of them. Big Bang makes Super Junior members look like preppy mama’s boys (not necessarily in a bad way because beautiful DongHae… I mean… never mind). The only way I feel you would understand is if you Googled Big Bang…

A girl I call an acquaintance yet befriended on Facebook posted a clip of a Big Bang interview and they looked so oddly clean-cut that I couldn’t help playing the video. I played it without sound the first time, reading the captions and succeeding in being amused till the end. I scrolled down but found myself scrolling back up and turning the volume up.

I was fascinated by that video. Not all the members spoke but I concluded that they exude a certain charm. And yes, I was surprised to find out that G-Dragon, T.O.P, and Taeyang (whom I assumed was the same person as Taeyeon for years) are all Big Bang members (I knew them by name and vaguely looked at their pictures but never got around to reading the part that mentioned their ties to Big Bang)…

What did I do next? I did what felt most natural – I went to look up more of their interviews on Youtube. It did feel strange to be looking them up and voluntarily watching their videos but it ended up all good.

One evening was spent watching their interview on a popular Korean variety show, Happy Together. I was sold. I still didn’t know much about them but I knew that they have chemistry and personality. (Side note: I watched another band’s interview and they had very little chemistry and that was clearly reflected in their music too, ugh.) The member that stood out the most to me was G-Dragon. He wasn’t the big, scary punk with crazy hair that I had pictured in my head for years. He’s actually soft-spoken, easygoing, and polite. And he’s not even 30?!?! Um, what?

Oh, my misconceptions. T_T

Okay, then I Wikipedia-ed them, and watched a live performance of Bae Bae and didn’t completely hate it which is usually a good sign. Bang Bang Bang followed, then Loser, then even Fantastic Baby. Then I knew I’d gone too far down the Big Bang path. Oh well, here I am. I can recognize all five of them now – G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri. Thank you very much. I don’t have a favorite but I do like Taeyang’s voice the most.

Their music is more diverse than I expected. I specifically want to point out their album MADE because I haven’t quite finished listening to the rest of their albums. The songs fuse R&B, rap, hip hop, and dance (and other genres but mostly these) so seamlessly that it almost seems like a genre of its own. Actually they’ve been constantly proving themselves to be a group who doesn’t stick any labels to themselves or limit themselves to just a handful of things. I like that. I guess you wouldn’t really call them a K-Pop group since they don’t lean towards the pop genre?

My mom and sister would most likely not would not imagine themselves going to a Big Bang concert but I’m quite sure they’ll be surprised at how much of a good time they’re having when they eventually follow me to one. ROTFLTTM (roll on the floor laughing to the moon).

I’m sorry this post was all over the place – I tried really hard to get my point across while combining some history. I’m going to go watch their MADE tour on Youtube now because I really like their MADE album. Bye.

Pretend this is tiny font: I hope my sister will like at least one song of theirs so that we can karaoke and talk about G-Dragon together ahaha.

Raine
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Music Monday #6

Matchbox 20 – I Believe in Everything

I was going to post a favorite ending theme but then I thought y’all might not appreciate it as much until I put up my post about the anime we watch. Until then, here’s a Matchbox 20 song for you. Matchbox 20 has been one of my favorite bands since I heard Unwell. I can’t get sick of that song. It is the bomb.

Enjoy!

zrs1

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Music Monday #4 – Wrecking Ball

Did you actually think that this was going to be a post about Miley’s song? If you did, you’re wrong because I’m here to bring you this treasure:

Wrecking Ball – Lifehouse

Isn’t their Wrecking Ball way nicer than Miley’s? 😉 How can this Wrecking Ball be so underrated compared to the one that people are listening to?

Guys, seriously. Lifehouse is the bomb. I might not have liked their newest album, Almeria, but Lifehouse still kicks some serious music butt. Smoke & Mirrors is hands-down one of my favorite albums. The first song I heard from them was Whatever It Takes so if you’re not feeling this song, which is stylistically slightly different from their older music, go check out songs from their Who We Are album.

I’ll understand if this is not your kind of music but at least give it a try. If you’re a Lifehouse fan, high five, let’s have a karaoke session!

 

zr1

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Music Monday #2 – I’m late, says the March hare!

Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden

Okay, I’m late. I won’t even deny it. It’s Wednesday! What in the world have I been doing for the past few days? Talk about prioritizing!

Does anyone love this song as much as we do? It brings back memories of being in my parents’ bedroom when we would come back after a long school day (which school day wasn’t long, tbh?!) and my mom would turn up the music and we would just enjoy ourselves. Ah, those were the days. Long before the days started getting hotter and hotter. We’ve just been lucky to score a few days of rain lately otherwise it really is blazing, frickin’, fry-an-egg-on-the-roadside hot.

x T

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Looking back

If you’ve been reading following our blog since we first started it or if you happen to scroll back to previous entries, you’ll find that C and I went through multiple phases in our teenage life. I find it so strange to go back and look at what we used to talk about. Haha, there was some serious teenage angst so if you happen to find some ‘angry’ posts, please don’t think too badly of us. We were young and wild and carefree and totally tactless… on this blog. I think this was just mainly our outlet to let out whatever feelings we had because when I think about it we were and still are decent kids. The most rebellious thing that we’ve done was rant the crap out of things on this blog, bad language and all. I didn’t even know we had teenage angst until I looked back and was like, WHOA who is talking there? Those are some nasty and crazy things you said, guuuurl. I’ve grown out of that – I think, I hope, I’m sure. 😉

Since I’m thinking of reviving our blog again, I just wanted to highlight some of the awesome teenage phases that C and I went through – kind of like a trip down memory lane. If you were obsessed or have kids who are obsessed with the same things as us, let me know in the comment box. Let’s relive some of the good ol’ days togetha!

Our blog was created in late 2008 and that was when our Simple Plan obsession was just budding. My friends were crazy for Simple Plan years ago but C and I were like bleh. Then when we saw the When You’re Gone video on TV a couple of times we started to get more and more into it. After that there was no stopping us.

ss1

Ah, this brings back fond memories of Seb, Jeff, Pierre, David and Chuck

When I say obsessed, I mean trawling the Internet for all Simple Plan related pictures and saving them into dozens of folders, checking their website for tour dates and wishing they would come to our town, watching every possible Simple Plan related video and making our mom watch it with us, trying to find every bit of information about each member so that we could feel like we knew them, trying to learn French so that if we ever met them we could converse in fluent French with them (ahaha, fat chance!), and of course getting all their albums and listening to the songs so many times that the number of plays skyrocketed above all the other songs we had on our player.

From our favorite album to our least favorite album from them:

  1. Simple Plan
  2. Still Not Getting Any
  3. No Pads No Helmets… Just Balls
  4. Get Your Heart On!

I mean, have you tried to count the number of Simple Plan posts we have on our blog?! It’s insane, haha! Of course we never got to see them in concert – insert sad face – but we did watch the Simple Plan New Year’s Eve concert in 2008 on Youtube and pretended that we were there. Fun times.

Oh, shoutout to Seb who was our favorite member of SP. He inspired C and I to take up guitar lessons. Ifff you want to know how that turned out, let me put it simply: our teacher was a douche, we tried and failed to learn from Youtube videos and ultimately just gave it up. Our guitar has been sitting in the closet for a couple of years now… Still, one day I would love to pick it up again and try to get somewhere further than the basic chords and strumming.

takamine2

Our dream guitar in Seb’s hands – the Takamine

Seb also led us to the discovery of Weezer. We heart Weezer!

Then our love for Maroon 5 intermingled with our obsession with SP. I mean, come on Makes Me Wonder. That was like one of the anthems of 2008/2009. Yes, we did have this crush on Adam Levine which our mom didn’t quite care for. She never liked and still doesn’t care for Adam and now if you ask us, we have to agree with her. Haha, change of heart along the way I guess… and it might have something to do with their latest album and some other small details but why go into that? We had our Maroon 5 folder but there were considerably fewer pictures compared to SP pictures.

m5_2

Jesse, Mickey, Adam, James and Matt

I’m proud to say that we are true Maroon 5 fans, not just Adam Levine fans. We know all the other members’ names (do you? :D) and our favorite member has definitely got to be James Valentine. Look at him, all slick guitar moves, long legs and glorious gold hair that I know I’m envious of. 😉 I’m still waiting for James to tell me what hair products he uses to maintain his hair.

I loved most of the songs off Songs About Jane, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long and Hands All Over but Overexposed has got to be the truest definition of the current Maroon 5. Overexposed indeed. I have no love lost for that album, not even Payphone!

Eventually our obsession turned to The All American Rejects. It was SP all over again – the videos, the band trivia, the pictures, the tour dates, everything!! Only we got to see them perform live – more than once!! And seeing them perform live was AMAZING, like mind-blowingly good. And of course after having Nick Wheeler (our favorite AAR member and also second most inspiring person during our quest to be future guitarists lol) wave at us and having our pictures taken with the band backstage, we fell even more in love with them. They were really nice to us so that chalked up another point on our scoreboard for them. Who likes having their dreams of their favorite band members being crushed by unfriendly and standoffish behavior?

aar14

Clockwise starting from top left: Mike, Chris, Tyson and Nick

From our favorite album to our least favorite album from them:

  1. When The World Comes Down
  2. Move Along
  3. The All American Rejects
  4. Kids In The Street

And then in between there were a few periods of mild obsession with other bands like:

melee14Melee

They’re so underrated and they seem to have disappeared off the face of the music world which is sad because they had some good music to offer. Well, I guess people listen to crap nowadays so all the decent ones get kicked under the rug, never to be seen again.

We also loved Boys Like Girls, One Republic, Cobra Starship, Jesse McCartney and Katy Perry enough to start collections of pictures of them. Oh, there were movies and actors and books and things that we were obsessed with but I’m not going to go into that (we’d be here for days!) Then slowly but surely you can see that our obsession faded. I mean, we found new bands and movies that we love but we don’t stalk the sites or save dozens of pictures or keep track of what’s going on every other day. Weird how teenage phases fade out, huh? Or maybe they don’t… some of my friends still obsess over people (think the latest boy band craze which we are NOT into at all haha).

What are some of the things you were obsessed with during your teenage/pre-teen years? Do you still have these obsessive phases or have you grown completely out of them?

x T

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Music we’re looking forward to

Here are some of our new favorite songs of 2013:

Hurricane – Parachute

When Hearts Go Crazy was released, initially we were like, Hmm, this song is okay but it doesn’t really sound like Parachute because the song is so remixed (is that what it is) that Will’s voice is barely recognizable.  When we heard the acoustic version, we were blown away by the rawness of Will’s voice and the arrangement of the song. Needless to say, we adore the acoustic version more than the album version.

Then Can’t Help was released and it’s so catchy that I was humming the tune after listening to it only once.  Then Hurricane came out a couple of days ago and we love it!! Okay, bottom line is, we love everything acoustic from Parachute – I mean, have you even heard Will’s cover of Gavin DeGraw’s Not Over You? Ugh, amazing – and we’re looking forward to their new album, OVERNIGHT, which is coming out August 12.

P.S: I can’t believe people say that Will sounds like Adam Levine. How does he even sound like Adam Levine? Admittedly, at first I thought that they sounded like Maroon 5 but after listening to their songs a few times, it’s obvious that Will’s voice is unique.

Moving on, we also love:

Feels Like Home – Backstreet Boys

Backstreet’s Back! And they are better than ever! I read a negative review about their new album In A World Like This (the album came out two days ago) and I was like, WHUT? This album kicks ass. Their harmonies are amazing, the instrumental parts superb and the lyrics much more meaningful. If they ever made a less-than-worthy album, it would definitely have to be This Is Us. Apart from Bigger, I really couldn’t appreciate any of the other songs. The record was dance-y and upbeat but it just didn’t do their vocals justice and the songs didn’t make much sense.

Kevin has been given bigger parts – his voice is so mysterious! – though Brian’s parts have significantly decreased. We still love you, Brian! Anyway, their album is amazinggg so go check it out, buy it, enjoy it. C and I agree that Feels Like Home is the Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) of IAWLT and it rocks! Our other faves include Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of, Breathe, Trust Me, One Phone Call, Soldier and Light On.

Tell us which songs you love most and don’t forget to Keep The Backstreet Pride Alive!

How can we forget Owl City?

Hey Anna – Owl City

I blame C for converting me into an Owl City fan. No, seriously. Before she changed my mind about his songs, I was like, Ugh, not this Fireflies crap again. I’m still not a fan of Fireflies but everything else, yes please!

Adam writes cutesy, whimsy songs that are relatable and his dreamy, electropop music just makes everything sound so good. And, he is a serial Tweeter. He can be seriously funny but don’t follow him if you don’t like your feed to be spammed. He does retweet A LOT. LOL.

His new album The Midsummer Station Acoustic is coming out sometime in the next few months so we’re waiting for that as well!!

If this post is a bit haywire, I apologize. Listening to music and writing a blog post about music doesn’t go well, LOL.

What songs are you listening to these days?

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