Monday, August 17, 2015

#NOWKPOPPING: Wonder Girls, HelloVenus, Stellar, Z.Hera, Big Bang

L to R: Wonder Girls, Z-Hera, HelloVenus
As we await the inevitable chart-topping return of Girls' Generation with their double title sucker punch "Lion Heart" and "You Think" (can't wait only for the latter to be honest) and the fingers-crossed-for-amazing Super Junior repackage, here's what's rocking in terms of #KPOP for yours truly.

If you buy one KPOP album this quarter, make it be the Wonder Girls latest. After a long hiatus, the group has reb(r)anded (see what I did there) following the exit of visual fave Sohee and leader Sunye (officially) -- inviting back former member SunMi to return to the charts as a quartet via their latest, Reboot. "I Feel You" is the single but the whole album follows its 80's dance aesthetic. I could go on and on about how great all four gals look (but especially rapper Yubin who is literally slaying all of your faves with that blonde hair), but I'm more inclined to give them credit for sticking to what they do best in going all in on a concept idea and putting together an actually sonically cohesive album. At least one member of the group also co-wrote or co-produced every song on the album. Now, you may have heard about all the flack they are receiving for calling this a "band" concept and yet not playing instruments live on stage. Had they (JYP) not gone ahead and called themselves a "band" going into the promotional cycle, none of ya'll would have said anything. The song is great, the album is great, they all look and great. Shut the eff up.

 - "I'm Ill"
I know precious little about this six-piece gal group but it's the summer of girl group comebacks and this is yet another Brave Brothers dance scorcher. Perfect for the end of summer, full of synthy dance and more sequins(!).

Z.HERA - "XOX" (feat. DALSHABET's Gaeun)
No relation to the group-that-shall-not-be-named. Super catchy and cute. I like this girl.

DICK PUNKS - "We Young"
Yes, that's really their name. Yes, they really are competing in the Idol game. Just don't call them a boy band. This traditional pop/rock band has been around since the mid-00's but gained raging popularity a few years back when they competed on the X-Factor like show Superstar K4. The song is great and they clearly don't take themselves too seriously. What's not to like?

STELLAR - "Vibrato"
This might be the most polarizing KPOP video of the year. The song on its own is plenty catchy but the music video and outfit choices is rankling the KPOP community something fierce with many calling the choreography and performance wear far too X-rated. In Stellar's defense, much of the video is a bit of a social commentary on how women are openly sexualized for entertainment, so I guess the jokes on the trolls. They themelves have said they have deliberately pursued sexier comeback concepts because they know it will make them money and a girl's gotta eat, alright? The social commentary they are putting up on a pedestal here is interesting enough but so long as the group knows what they're doing, I have no issue with this.

BIG BANG - "Bang Bang Bang"
Yup, I caved. Although I'm still not much for this MADE promotional cycle, this is definitely a jam that clearly every non-SM boy group wants to emulate (::cough:: BEAST ::cough cough::). Super slick and had this been released in English, it would have been all over the place Stateside...hell, I wouldn't be surprised if it still was played here (and loud).

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