February was an amazing month in Kpop. From the beginning of the month to the end of the month trakcs were released one after the other. I am not including Rain, 2NE1, or DBSK in the running for this month due to the fact that neither Rain nor DBSK’s tracks interested me this month and 2NE1 have yet to release a music video for their title track Crush.
B.A.P. made a stunning comeback to kick the month off with 1004 Angel a intensely emotion pop track with hip hop and rock elements that was a departure from most of their previous works, but was not a derivation from their signature sound. 1004 Angel reminded me quite a bit of Badman. The track felt new and the accompanying music video was chalk full of deeply symbolic imagery that spoke to their pain. This was a strong comeback that sold well and their debut stage was impeccable. One of the top singles from February 2014. Something was lacking in the song for me however, as the month went on it remained on my playlist, but in the end was -not- one of my favorite songs from the month. Check out the awesome video here, in the odd case that you missed this one.
The first track that got me up and grooving was Min Woo’s Taxi. The song has a fun and funky feeling to it with a jazzy r&b feel to it. This is a track I’ll be keeping in my playlist for quite some time. The song is reminiscent of the work from my favorite producer, Primary, and may have been produced by him. I wouldn’t be surprised given Taxi‘s level of smooth beats and easy going vocals. This is just the kind of song I like and the music video took the concept of a girl, who picks up guys regularly, to a comedic peak that I haven’t seen in a kpop video since San-e’s debut. Shinhwa member Eric is featured on the track which was a highlight for me, second only to to bright and vibrant colors of the video.
Gain of Brown Eyed Girls also had a solo comeback, just like Min Woo, releasing two tracks and one of which made a huge impact in increasing the level of mature themes in kpop. Of course I’m talking about Fxxk You. The song much like many of the singles coming out so far this year has a smooth sound which accentuate Gain’s amazing vocals. I love the spanish sounding guitar mixed with this slow beat. I’m positive the video is 19+ in Korea if it isn’t banned. The song is about a rocky relationship with some rather overt physicality that I did not expect in the video at all. It looks like she and Key Bum, who is featured to great success in the song, are two lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other in love, lust, and abuse. This is single handedly the most mature song I’ve heard in the Kpop realm.
These three songs were three of my favorite songs of the year so far and have been in constant replay along with my top pick from January B1A4’s Lonely. I don’t expect any of these songs to drop off my playlist for a long time to come. These are the tracks that I think will shape the first six months of the year.
There were other tracks that came out that helped fleshed out the month that are worth checking out. Roh Ji Hoon released a great pop ballad in A Song For You, Pro-C from JTune Camp made their debut with The Side that Loves More Hurts, BTS released a fantastic follow up to their previous efforts with Boy In Love. Other notable tracks worth checking out were Boy’s Republic’s Video Game and BTOB’s Beep Beep. These two were squarely in the kpop realm that we’ve come to expect over the last couple years. Very good, very fun efforts.
So there you go, the entire month of February in Kpop…
Not so fast, there were three tracks which blew me away this month. The first was Sun Mi’s long awaited comeback in Full Moon. This song, the first collaboration between Brave Sound and JYP had stellar results. This was the first song of the month that spoke to me as “song of the month” status. The video, omg the video. Sun Mi looked amazing and her sexy dance was done both right. It exhibited her sensual side without looking raunchy or out of place. It fit the video perfectly and if you want to read more on my thoughts on this song, check out my full review here http://sifuhallyu.com/2014/02/17/sun-mi-full-moon-review/). Sun Mi’s Full Moon is one of my contenders for track of the month for its haunting vocals and fantastic music video. Full Moon is my video of the month for its deep symbolism and amazing visual presence. This is a perfect example why I consider myself a fan of JYP Entertainment.
There was another track that I thought I had to include in this wrap up because I was blown away, literally to chills, when I heard it for the first time. It was a song I wasn’t even going to cover and am so glad I was asked to listen to it because Speed made a 180 degree change from their last effort. Their entire album Speed Circus is fantastic and I found Why I’m not to be the best pop inspired hip hop track of the month beating out both competitors in BTS and B.A.P. The emotion, the simplicity of the video, and the combined flow and vocals were on a different level for me with this one. I could not believe what I was hearing from this relatively unknown (to most) group. If you haven’t checked out this song yet, do so…its fantastic. (Full Review: http://sifuhallyu.com/2014/02/18/speed-why-im-not-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/)
Which leaves me to the third and final entrance in my top Kpop track and my Song of the Month…
Park Ji Yoon’s Beep takes top honors this month. (Full Review: http://sifuhallyu.com/2014/02/19/park-ji-yoon-beep-hot-comeback/) Despite having been released late in the month this track is my most listened to song of the month with over 150 plays. This song is…everything. It’s got an awesome beat that you can dance to all night long, great vocals, and most importantly has a fun, fierce, funky and fresh sound that I love in a song. Park Ji Yoon was unknown to me prior to this release and I am now solidly a fan of this Kpop veteran. Beep’s video is DAEBAK! Utilizing the American hit show Soul Train to add a retro element came so far out of left field I was jumping up and down to see a Korean production get this aspect of American culture so right and -not- have it seem like a parody or purposefully funny. I find that to be lacking tact and not enjoyable. This video did it right, y’all. Having Jay Park featured in the video doesn’t hurt either. So here it is…my top single of the month…
Park Ji Yoon and Beep