Category Archives: Hot Comeback!

Henry – Fantastic Review

Henry Lau’s second mini album, Fantastic was released on iTunes today and I’ve got to say Henry has become one of my favorite Kpop solo artists. Two years running he’s managed to create two mini albums of six songs each of pure audio bliss. Sadly, I can’t say that about any of my long time favorite kpop artists like Tae Yang or Jay Park which puts Henry at the top of a very short list. The only other act in all of Kpop whose been this consistent, for me, is VIXX and this folks may just alter my bias list for a long time coming because Fantastic is just that good.

Compared to his debut album, Trap, his second outing is once again consistent. It sounds and feels like the Henry we know as a solo artist and as a member of Super Junior, but there is a more mature and evolved sound in his sophomore effort. The title track is reminiscent of Trap but is a much more interesting single. His use of the violin adds a quality to the song that just makes me swoon. It’s a haunting track that I think for many people will grow on them the more they hear it. I’ve had the album on repeat all day and unlike most title tracks I’ve come back to Fantastic because it is that, fantastic. When it comes to title tracks from my favorite artists this one is going to go down as a favorite right up there with Jay Park’s Know Your Name and Tae Yang’s Wedding Dress. Like the previously mentioned singles, it won’t be my favorite song from Henry. I think that would still fall to 1-4-3 or Ready 2 Love. Like those two songs the new mini album has a song in a similar vein, but nails the kind of songs I love to blast all summer long…especially on Saturdays.

Saturday is by far my favorite track on the album. It’s a fun, fresh, fierce, and funky pop rock track that will have your shoulders shaking, head bopping, and maybe your booty swerving. It’s uplifting from beginning to end is guaranteed to raise your mood if you’re feeling down. Give it a listen, you won’t be sorry.

Overall, the vibe of the album has many layers with funk and electronic being the most notable which are expertly crafted over a classic pop sound. There is a slight R&B feel to the album overall and these various musical styles combine in a way that speaks to Henry’s (and his producers) genius. Which is exactly what he is…

A fantastic genius.

I picked up the mini album from iTunes and you can too, if you click on this link and support one of the hottest solo artists in Kpop today. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/2nd-mini-album-fantastic-ep/id897469808)

Tagged , , ,

MBLAQ – Be a Man

MBLAQ – Be a Man

Be a Man is surprisingly smooth and slow for this group. I’m digging the pure vocals from all five members who are featured nicely due to the slower nature of the song. They’re allowed some room to breathe and shine individually which is a nice departure from their usual sound.

I don’t think I’ve head anything from MBLAQ that sounds this light and airy, while not expected it is a pleasant surprise.

The video is all about the boys, who don’t look like boys anymore. Sad to say, but Thunder is all grown up. I like the choice of a monochromatic backdrops. The sets put the focus on the group and nothing but the group. Their static enough the video matches the feeling of the song which is something I’ve always felt JTune Camp was excellent at accomplishing.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the mini album when it comes up on iTunes.

Tagged , , ,

MBLAQ – Broken Teaser


MBLAQ – Broken Teaser

MBLAQ’s comeback with their sixth mini album is imminent as yesterday JTune Camp released a reader for Broken.

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for the boys comeblaq (love that). The teaser has a somber feeling to it. The boys are sitting together in a circle, a sign of their unity perhaps, looking very forlorn. The teaser has a very different feel to it than their previous efforts. Maybe their Smokey Girl got away after all.

Can’t wait for this one!

Tagged , ,

2NE1 – Crush Live

Welcome to our show. We’re 2NE1 and TONIGHT its All or Nothing, baby. Are you ready!”

Many reviews of 2NE1’s new album Crush referred to it as a return to their signature sound and with this live performance I have to agree. To say their signature sound, sure it exists…its definitive, but this team is so much more than just a sound. 2NE1 is a brand, their sound is accompanying with a specific striking visual, dance style, and a ton of swag. I love their costumes in this video. I don’t know what to call them…but their gold, black, and I love it. Simple as that. The backup dancers are wearing hot pink which I have associated with 2NE1 since 2010’s Can’t Nobody. The stage background is totally 2NE1 from day one. The graffiti is so reminiscent Fire and Clap!.

This is everything. Dara is back with crazy hair. Beom still can’t move her face much (I like it like that) and Minzi looks to be all grown up and is still in a ridiculously long coat.

Check out this performance cause they killed it. Isn’t that why we love them? Lets ask…

They love me cause I’m hot, they love me cause I’m cold. They love me cause I’m real. They love me cause…

I’m slayed.

Tagged , , , , , ,

2NE1 – MTBD LIVE

Feel the base go, feel feel feel the base go.

I have been waiting all week to watch 2NE1’s comeback video’s Come Back Home and Happy and write my reaction posts to them, but when I went to watch those videos for the first time the first video that came up was CL’s solo live performance of Mental Breakdown which if you read my album review (http://sifuhallyu.com/2014/02/28/2ne1-crush-album-review/) you know that MTBD was my favorite track on the album. That beat, CL’s flow, its the perfect sound. This is now the performance and track I’m going to be showing people why I’m a 2NE1 fan. Hands down, this is Lee Chae Rin’s best performance ever eclipsing the 2011 MNet Asian Music Awards performance of Lonely and I am the Best (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAHD0aFt45A) their live comeback stage of I Love You (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcgFPrlNsvQ). These were two performances where CL stood out and owned the stage. Queen of Kpop, Lee Hyo Ri, once said that CL is the only person who could one day take her spot as the top female solo act and these performances and now with her live solo in MTBD this has never been more correct.

CL once again, once the stage. This time however, she does it alone with no help from her sisters and does she ever work. I love the stage itself. It’s dark and has all of CL’s signature iconography…the flags, the kwon twins, and that ridiculous outfit. I laughed out loud when I first saw her in her Gizibie outfit and then she opened her mouth and mine was shut. Girl…can…work.

If I ever get the chance to see 2NE1 perform live you will see me on YouTube in the front row rocking out.

Tagged , , , , ,

2NE1 – Crush – Album Review


2NE1 – CRUSH

They love me cause I’m hot, they love me cause I’m cold, they love me because I’m real, they love me cause I kill

Indeed.

After nearly three years these four queens return with their second full length album, Crush.

It’s been far too long since 2NE1 has released an album, whether a mini album or full length. 2NE1 is my favorite bias. I’ve waited for so long!

Ok so the album has ten tracks, track listing is in the photos below. The album has a very nice eclectic mix of nearly every genre 2NE1 utilizes to make their high energy tracks. Reggae, hip hop and pop are all represented on the album. This shows an evolution in their development as artists. The sound of this album is highly polished and less party rock anthem and more serious. That’s almost an oxymoron when it comes to their music, but it’s serious for serious sake, rather than serious just for the fun of it like most of their tracks. I’d say, if I had to compare these tracks with their previous works the only similar work I can think of is Lonely and Don’t Cry.

CL’s solo track MBTD is the highlight of the album for me. It has the most 2NE1 and YG Entertainment sound to it. I was up off my butt and dancing like I was 21 again within the first ten seconds of the song playing. It’s got a hard beat, for 2NE1, and CL’s flow is sick. The Baddest Gizibie, she is and proves it here. As far as female rappers in KPOP CL is on a different level. MBTD is a self composed track She’s believable as a rapper first, performer second. The only act that has more talent for their raw talent is Yoon Mi Rae. I can’t think of a better compliment to give CL than that.

How Beautiful is this life…how painful is this life

The title track Crush is reminiscent of their early works, but is solidly harder than their precious title tracks like Can’t Nobody and I Am The Best. It’s got the fun energy that we know from 2NE1 and adds a serious feeling that we haven’t seen before.

interestingly, YG included a Korean version of the groups Japanese single Scream on the album yet neglected to include I Love You, Falling in Love and Missing You on the album. Adding these three #1 hits would have added a lot of flavor and value to the album. I recall these were supposed to be on the album way back when I Love You was released.

Crush kills it. It’s an instant download and charting #1 in multiple countries. Pick it up on iTunes,
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/crush/id828866397, right now!

20140228-071921.jpg

20140228-071914.jpg

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Park Ji Yoon – Beep – Hot Comeback!

Park Ji Yoon – Beep

Talk about a comeback! February is turing into a hot month in kpop with Park Ji Yoon’s release of Beep. It’s a funky and soulful dance track that references American 1970’s R&B straight out of the Soul Train pantheon. I’ll talk more about that more later, but first lets get straight to the song.

I love this song. The song kicks off with a disco inspired beat that I’d expect San Francisco Dance-Music Queen Sylvester to have produced. Do you wanna funk? Indeed. Beep is infectiously cactchy with amazing hooks and Ji Yoon’s vocals are once again on point. Her Beep Beeps and Bow wow wows will keep you bopping your head over and over. I especially love the “what what what what what…” portion of the song. To say the song is fierce fun funky and fresh is an understatement. It’s so completely fabulous that I halfway expect one of the Queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race to show up and turn it out. If I had my choice it would be Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon in their best Soul Train bell bottoms and wigs. The song is going is a strong contender for Song of the Month.

I’m not digging it. I’m loving it. Somebody call McDonalds.

The video from a kpop standpoint is completely off the chain. Their is nothing normal or run of the mill happening here. I especially love the retro production of the video that makes it look like we’re actually watching Soul Train. It adds a legitimacy to the song as it harkens back to the late 1970’s paying homage to great artists like Prince. Those under a certain age might not remember Soul Train at all. Soul Train was a heavily Black-American focused dance and music show which first aired in syndication in 1971 and didn’t end its run until 2006. That’s a solid 35 years and remains today to be the longest running syndicated television show in American history. Soul Train is an enormously important cultural phenomenon that brought a stage, on television, to a new demographic of the American landscape which didn’t really have a national exposure. It was a response to American Bandstand, another long running music and dance show, but that show rarely featured any non-white acts or dancers prior to Soul Train making a splash. In my opinion, Soul Train is why in the 1990’s we had shows dance shows on Mtv’s Spring Break and largely led the way for music countdown shows the way we know them today. Without Soul Train we would not have seen a diversification of music that was allowed to be on television and shows like TRL (remember when Mtv was cool? I do.) and any number of Korean shows like M! Countdown. Referencing this aspect of American culture so directly could have been a huge mistake or a huge win if done right and I’m happy to say that despite some rather strange use of stereotypes (the introduction for example) the music video gets it right. I felt the video honored the history and heritage of the music and venue that came before it in a way that may turn some off due to their lack of history regarding soul music. Bravo!

Aside from the interesting cultural connections we see in the video it’s just simply fun. Sure, it references a time when most of the people reading this parent’s are old enough to remember Soul Train but, I don’t think it’ll matter because the fun factor is so high. Cameos are everywhere with my favorites being Noh Hong Cul, Muzie, and of course my ultimate bias looking so sick Jay Park. They add a bit of humor to the video that splices together Korean dancers dancing right along with black dancers from today and what looks to be original footage from Soul Train circa 1978. If the producers of the video didn’t use some Soul Train footage that is some uncanny wardrobing they accomplished.

Bow wow wow wow…what what what what what what what what what you ask?

I love this. I love everything about Beep.

The total package, perfect 10/10.

Tagged , , , ,