Many months later.

Would you believe me if I told you I'll post once a month from here on out? 
*slaps knee and laughs nervously*
Yeah ok, I don't believe me either.

So, as I sit here in my apartment maintaining my paleness while I stare at the intense sunlight out the window, let's dive into what songs (new! and maybe a little outdated! but they were new when I "started" this draft in April!!) I've been listening to:

"I'll Be Yours" by Girls Day

Jazzy, catchy, confident. GO GIRL GROUPS. What a long-awaited comeback, and they did not disappoint. "Don't Be Shy" is probably my second most-listened-to song off of the album.

"Clouds" by Before You Exist

Ok, so maybe I discovered this song through a K-pop artist, but I'm so glad I found it. The lyrics are so raw and beautiful, and when I found out it was dedicated to Christina Grimmie (a YouTuber and singer who passed away almost a year ago), I almost started bawling. 
"Please just tell me you're alright / Are you way up in the sky / Laughing, smiling, looking down / Saying "'one day we'll meet in the clouds'"

"Wake Me Up" by B.A.P

I'm not sure if I can really get into their earlier music, but starting with "Skydive" I've become a huge fan of B.A.P. And now with leader Bang Yong-guk back from his break (he withdrew from the last round of album promotions due to anxiety and panic disorders), wow, that husky rapping is 💯. Peep this Billboard article for more insight as to why "Wake Me Up" disrupts the industry norm of skimming over mental health issues that many K-pop idols surely face at some point in their careers. After all, this is a group that went on hiatus for ~9 months to settle unfair working conditions and profit distribution with their management/label.

"Wine" by Suran ft. Changmo

Do I like this song because: 
1) the title is a big part of my life
2) it's produced by BTS's Suga
3) it's chill and low-key, like having a glass of wine on a Thursday night?
All of the above. I have a feeling Suran's music (hello, Beenzino and Zico collabs) will become regulars on my Spotify playlists.

"Really Really" by Winner

I'm not sure if it makes sense, but I think that having an unexpectedly upbeat song as a title track has made me appreciate their usual more mellow/serious sound a little more. Anyways, here's a cool interview I wrote up about Winner on BuzzFeed. #selfpromo
Also, please give us more music soon; THANKS.

"Last Scene" by Psy ft. Lee Sung-kyung

I honestly never listen to Psy but I listened to all the songs on his new album and there are some serious bops. "Last Scene" takes it slow, but "Fact" (DO YOU KNOW BULGOGI???) and "We Are Young" are my favorite dance-y songs. And of course Lee Sung-kyung (who's also managed by YG) has an angelic addition to being a gorgeous model and a talented and very animated actress — she played the main character in my most recent K-drama obsession, "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo," which I highly recommend if you just want to watch something cute/funny/lighthearted.

Other songs on rotation:

  • "Ready or Not" by Monsta X — This edges out "Beautiful" for me, which is a shame because they've only performed shortened versions on the live performances circuit. But anyways, I prefer Clan pt 2.5 much more than the first two mini-albums of the series, which is saying a lot because I still listen to "Hero" (that rooftop dance performance just k i l l s me every time) the most out of all Monsta X songs. I wish they were coming to KCON NY this year (I thought there was a good chance they would!), but alas.
  • "dlwlrma" by IU — So it's true that I can't really stand her acting, but she has an undeniably pretty voice and I really like this happy-go-lucky song. If you type out the "dlwlrma" in Korean, it'll give you the phrase for "right now" or "in the moment" (thanks, Joyce). Also, "life is cool cool cool" lolol — no objections there.
  • "Most Girls" by Hailee Steinfeld — I'm not IN LOVE with the lyrics, but I love Hailee's voice. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly unaccomplished, I'll remember the fact that Hailee was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at 14 and then feel worse about myself HA HA HA. 
  • "A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone" by BTS — I'm never not listening to BTS, but this song has been getting a lot of love recently whenever I've been feeling stressed (which, if you know me at all, is a lot).
  • "Dream in a Dream" by Ten — This is pretty much just an instrumental track with the same short English verse repeated a few times, but HELL YEAH is it dreamy-sounding or what. I've said this before, but I love the amount of cool songs (and unlikely collaborations) that SM Station churns out (and every week too!). 10/10 would've listened to this on repeat during my hardcore (lol, scoff) college studying days. I wish I could pick out exactly what instruments (traditional Asian string instruments, I assume) are being used.

Hopefully more cool stuff coming up in the near future! And maybe one day my blog posts won't 100% be about K-pop but like, I'm just trying to be real about about how I spend my time. Besides binge-watching Master of None season 2 and stuffing myself with way too many cupcakes (thanks, wonderful friends). But as always, check out all the fun product posts I write on BuzzFeed here (like cute things that'll make your day better or cheap things to treat yourself to)! WOOOOOOOOW ooh-ahh etc.


Someone make spring happen, like now.

What I've been listening to this month:

I swear, Dean can do no wrong with his collaborations. I included his track with Zico and Crush two posts back, but this track showcases his dreamy voice more, and it's with Baek Yerin, whose voice is also so incredibly soothing (my favorite song of hers is "Across the Universe"). The simple space-themed, moving-scribbles music video is entrancing in its own right too. All in all, a perfection addiction to my "Take A Breather" Spotify playlist.

Have I talked about how low-key obsessed I've become with Red Velvet? Now I have. I think my obsessions with boy groups will always be more intense (lolol), but Red Velvet's slowly making their way up there. It makes sense too cause Red Velvet hasn't "boxed themselves" in to the traditional girl group concepts of overtly sexy or cute explosion — their quirky, colorful sound (same goes for outfits + hair) have drawn both girl and boy fans, which is pretty rare from what I can tell (like the majority of Korean fans are the opposite sex of the group they stan). This interview from Dazed goes more in-depth on all of that. I have a thing with disliking songs when they first come out only to listen to them nonstop ~4 months later. "Russian Roulette" might be my fav (I currently have a YouTube "russian roulette dance tutorial" search tab open, but TBD if I actually try to learn the choreo), but I like their b-tracks just as much, like "Lucky Girl" and "Happily Ever After" (the latter more than the title track, "Rookie"). Also, I've decided I'm going to dye my hair like Irene's, so look forward to that, I guess.

At this point, anything Taeyeon sings is magical, but I'll be hard-pressed to find something that beats 11:11 in my heart. While I'm not so much of a fan of "I Got Love" (I think artists can and should experiment with different images/concepts all they want; I'm just not particularly drawn to an edgier Taeyeon), "Fire" is more my style (especially with that guitar riff at the beginning — is that the right term?) reminds me of an early 2000s Michelle Branch or Vanessa Carlton song (I feel like there's an even better songstress to reference and it bothers me I can't think of one). Anyways, I'll need to delve more into her album to find what other songs I like. I've been listening to the title track "Fine" quite a bit too, but it's just...fine. I don't have any strong opinions, but I think "Fire" is stronger and more diverse vocally. I think Taeyeon mentioned that this is her first music video filmed entirely in Korea, which makes sense just watching it. It's simple, but makes me want to visit all the more. 

UPDATE: I listened to the rest of her album and I also really like "Love in Color" and "Cover Up." K, bye.

Ok, how can I not add this? I won't ramble on about it, but the choreography/cinematography (the bird's eye view on them dancing on that huge reflective surface...I can't) is killer and fight me if you think otherwise. I might have played this MV upwards of 20 times the day it came out (it's almost at 50 million views now, daaaang). I also haven't been feeling the best lately, so as one Tumblr user said, "self-care is listening to 'Not Today' until you go deaf." Actually.

Here's one more to round out the list — so fun and upbeat. More of the image I have of Block B in general, and kind of the polar opposite of "Toy" (although I like that song more).

Btw, this video makes me want to investigate K-pop's popularity in Korea vs. the world even more. Is the music more charming to foreigners than Koreans? If I grew up in Korea, would I think K-pop is overrated and roll my eyes whenever I hear it playing at the gym (though I'd probably not be at the gym to begin with...a shopping mall or beauty shop would be more accurate)? I do think being an ~outsider~ lends itself to a level of ~fascination~ that comes with not being bombarded with it, if that makes sense. Anyways, what I hope to show through my blog / general whatever, is that my fascination goes beyond a surface-level type of thing that's just like, "oooh, flashy music videos."

Yoooo, I'm also so excited about the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, mostly because Constance Wu is playing Rachel Chu but also because this cast is clearly being very thoughtfully chosen, so big shout-out to Jon M. Chu.