Archive for April, 2011

Rant #22- The Reshuffle of U-Kiss

Alright, I’m finally going to address this issue.

Just before 0330 was released it was suddenly announced that NH Media (the company in charge of U-Kiss) had, for lack of a better word, fired Kibum and Alexander, two of the most popular members. They had done this two months before and kept it secret.

The fans, needless to say, exploded over this. There have been mixed reactions to the two members who took their places.

It took me a long time to figure out exactly where I stand on this. I get that the company wanted to reinvent U-Kiss, but I think what they did was wrong- Alexander and Kibum were key parts of the group. At the same time I think the remixed group sounds better… though I’m still a die-hard Alexander fan.

In the new song U-Kiss sounds better, but it’s hard to say if that’s the song (because they are indeed pursuing a new style) or if it’s the new group… Unless they perform an old U-Kiss song I really can’t say if they sound better or not.

OK, don’t kill me, but I have to break a fact to you: I’ve lived in Korea for 6 months now, and I can tell you that U-Kiss is not very popular here. Half my friends here didn’t even know who U-Kiss was, and the ones who did only knew of them from the “Shut Up” dance. Most of U-Kiss’ popularity comes from overseas fans, in Korea they’re pretty low key.

That’s why I can understand wanting to remix the group. They added Kiseop and changed their image, but it still didn’t gain them recognition. So now they change members. Again, I don’t think that was the right way to go about it, and again I can’t deny they sound better in “0330”…

As you can tell I still don’t really know where I stand on this issue. I understand why Kibum and Alexander were thrown out, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. It only means I can figure out what NH Media was thinking.

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0330- U-Kiss

I deleted the old review for this because I wanted to amend it.

Lyrics: 5/5
The song is about losing the girl you love and the pain of her leaving. It’s pretty good, the lyrics are simple and repetitive, so there isn’t anything major going on. For the most part I like the raps too (except for “Don’t deny our r-squared pi” … the area of our circle? … ooh… romantic…).
“I still can’t erase you/ I keep thinking of you/ I miss you so much/ I can’t sleep at night/ The raindrops on my heart’s window/ The place you left/ Because I miss you so much/ I can’t sleep at night”

Dance: 5/5
You don’t see most of the dance in the MV, but I like the bits that are there. It seems tight and well done. Also it looks more complete than U-Kiss’ usual work. All in all I think it looks promising.

Story: 4/5
I knocked off a point because it does take several viewings to understand. I think it is a good story, but it wasn’t necessarily pulled off well enough.

You see Dongho sitting to play the piano alone. He’s dreaming of this and smiling. Eli, meanwhile, is just watching him, depressed. From the clues I think Eli either lost his girlfriend or he is worrying over Dongho. The other members go out of their way to keep an eye on both Dongho and Eli. Dongho is running in the rain and meets a girl. He brings her back to their dorm to dry off and wait for the rain to stop. They sit and play piano together.

The other members become increasingly frustrated until Kevin starts to break and Eli snaps. While Dongho is talking on the phone to the girl he grabs the phone out of his hands and slams it. You then see all the scenes with the girl- but now it is only Dongho. He’s been alone the whole time. He can’t handle it and starts to cry, but the others comfort him.

I don’t think it’s a matter of Dongho being crazy. You see a lot of shots of him breaking down, so I think it might be that Dongho lost his girlfriend- I get the impression that she’s dead, because she is always wearing white in the forest, but a breakup would fit too. Either works, and the way I see it, Dongho was so heartbroken the only way he could cope with losing the girl was to imagine another.

So I think the MV isn’t about his psychotic delusions, but about him trying so hard to cope with losing the original girl he loved. The friends follow him to keep an eye on him and help him with his loss. But that’s my guess. I think the director should have made the story clearer… Feel free to post your own interpretations!

Other Things

Like I said in the original review I’m going to post a response to Alexander and Kibum’s expulsion from the group. It will be in the “Rant” section.

Why is it that Eli always gets the English rap, and that his English is always SO awkward??? He speaks English, he should help the songwriter~ or if he writes the raps, as is the case often in K-Pop, he should find a tutor (DON’T DENY OUR R-SQUARED PI).

Kevin has a limited role in this song, which I like. I have nothing against Kevin, I just like that the other members can be heard more. And I like Dongho as a rapper, it sounds good. Kiseop does a great job singing, I’d like to hear more of him.

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Announcement: Story time!

For those of you who don’t know: I’m a student studying abroad in South Korea right now. It’s my second semester here (amazing country by the way!! absolutely perfect!). Well, yesterday I had my Intermediate Korean class (where my teacher speaks NO english save single words he looks up before class). So yesterday he gives us a slide with the midterm info on it translated to English (well, he gives me the slide, the other girl in class speaks near perfect Korean, I’m not sure why she’s there). He then opened the book to three very specific pages, pointed at me, and said “You, midterm” then pointed at the book.

So I’m just studying the whole damn thing for midterms, because I have no clue what he was getting at.

I’m telling you this because it means I’m not posting for a few days at least, maybe longer if my professors drop midterms on us next week (I’m expecting two take-home ones). For those of you doing midterms now- GOOD LUCK. For those of you who don’t do midterms or who are already done- -_-

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Old Announcements Revisited

The last time I mentioned this was back when I was getting only 15 views a day, and now there are around 30x more of you! So I just thought I’d repeat some old stuff. It’s a long post, sorry! But I think you’ll find it useful.

1. Commenting
If you don’t have a wordpress account yourself, then they want you to leave your name and e-mail address in order to post comments. Don’t be discouraged by this. They don’t actually check to make sure the info is correct. You can invent a totally fake name and e-mail address and post your comment anyways, it appears here all the same. So use your imagination ^^

2. Commenting- Rule
If you agree with a post then you can just say “I liked this part” or “I agree”, but if you want to argue with me then that is COMPLETELY FINE! Especially on Rants I like to hear your opinions as well, so give me some feedback. But the rule here is that if you disagree you can’t just say “that’s stupid”, TELL ME what you think. Either say which part you disagree with, or tell me your own opinion. You can even just agree with me and tell me your stance, I like reading your replies!

3. Editing
If you see a mistake in one of my posts, a fact isn’t right or whatever, then let me know. I’ll look it up and either add to the review itself or post an update for it. And if you want to just point out typos, then go right ahead. I ignore the spell-checker on wordpress because it doesn’t recognize Korean words or names (hell, it doesn’t even recognize “wordpress”), so¬† if you see something wrong draw attention to it and I will fix it.

3. Artist Profiles
When I go to write a Profile I visit one of the official fan websites or forums for that group in order to get a feel for what the fans say about them. I *do* get busy though, and so it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to do the kind of in-depth research I did for the other Profiles. Any artist here who has had more than 3 MVs reviewed is allowed to have a profile. Please send me a message with any group you’d like me to post a profile on and where I can look to learn more about them. Wikipedia is a legit source ONLY when it comes to CDs, if you have a better place to look or think the articles there are OK, then let me know that too!

4. Want to download?
I only review an MV if it has English subtitles or if it is in English to begin with. A lot of the time though when I go back to get the English subbed version for you all it no longer exists (copyright claims and whatnot). The reason I have the subbed version and yet can’t find it to give to you is because I have a policy: before I even watch an MV I download it. I’m a film major specializing in music videos and variety shows, so I have a quite extensive collection of at least 700+ music videos.

If you’re interested in growing your own collection, or if there is an MV you’ve seen dozens of times and just really would like to download so you don’t have to hunt it down on youtube all the damn time, then go to this site and download their YouTube Downloader.

http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/

DON’T WORRY- the download won’t put a virus on your computer. I know you probably won’t take my word for it (I wouldn’t take my word for it if I were just browsing and saw this link on a site), but in my experience it has never proved harmful to my computer. It updates whenever they make a new patch for it, if youtube changes their coding in an effort to break such downloaders they have a solution within 5 days, and you can use the downloader to convert the video into most kinds of media and even to a format that lets you put it on an iPod or PSP.

If you choose to download this program then you can see for yourself what all it does. Again, I’ve been using it for AT LEAST 2 years, and have never had a problem with it. I love this program completely!

A note about how it works though: if the video is soft-subbed (meaning the subtitles are in the form of captions that you can turn on and off) then those subtitles will not appear when you download the video. the reason is that they are not real subtitles on the VIDEO itself, but they are a separate YouTube thing. You need hard-subs if you want to download them- that is text that has already been added to the video itself. If you’re confused, most links I post here with subs are hard-subbed. I try to mention it if they are only soft-subbed.

I hope some questions were answered there! Feel free to ask any more that spring to mind ^^

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Nothing’s Over- Infinite

This is the first time I’ve made it all the way through an Infinite song. Nothing against them, I just think they’re a little too young~ plus they came out in that boy-band crush and seem to always make their comeback at the same time as ZE:A and Teen Top, so I kind of ignore all three of those groups. I’m liking this song though, maybe I’ll give them another look.

Song: 4/5
Another breakup song begging the woman they love to come back to them. It kind of describes mixed emotions though. Most of the time they’re telling the girl it isn’t over and how much they love her, and the rest of the time they seem ready to give up. There isn’t much to say about the song, there are dozens like it out there, but this has a lighter feeling to it, so I like it.
Nothing’s over/ Nothing’s Over/ Nothing’s over/ Nothing’s over/ you’re reciting a spell to me/ you can’t see another guy/ you can’t be like this already/ it’s not the end yet/ it’s not the end/ I didn’t send you away

Dance: 4/5
The shimmy doesn’t seem to fit very well with the song lyrics, but I like how they pull it off. It’s very uniform, and you can tell they put an incredible amount of training time in. Of the new boy bands their dance seems the most together. No offense to the other groups, these guys just pull the choreography off very well.

Story: 3/5
The decreasing points is due to how the song seems to match less and less with the different categories. It was a little too down for the choreography and here the opposite happened: the MV is too down for the song… and it seems a little… let’s explain from the start.

You see one of the members playing music when he’s hit in the head with something (I’m guessing couple ring, you don’t see it much) then you proceed to see the same member kind of dying over a girl he’s lost. The other members try to cheer him up and are singing to him throughout the MV. He eventually leaves and gets in a car to drive off, fending off his members as he goes. The only issue is as the MV progresses it kind of feels like the members are singing to him about how in love they are with him. I’m sure the group members are all very close, but it kind of gets a little odd.

By the end of the MV though the group seems to have given up all semblance of focus and are just goofing around, complete with times when they are most DEFINATELY singing about their love for the guy. The last shot even has a member saying “UGH! Are we done???” and then just attacking each other and running around like children who had their first pixie stick (trust me, as part of my study abroad here in Korea I teach English to 6th graders, and when you give them American candy you see a sugar rush of unparalleled levels).

Other Things

I’m kind of in love with the scenes where the members are standing against mattresses and fall into a wall of toilet paper rolls. It serves no real purpose (maybe a metaphor for crying at the breakup so much), but I like to watch them fall on the head of the last member, then the other two break through the wall to join the group.

Like I said in the intro, I’m not familiar with Infinite at all, so I don’t know member names. They seem good enough to last for a while, if they can escape the boyband crunch of Teen Top and ZE:A (you still have to convince me those are two different groups half the time). I’ll give them another listen some time for sure.

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Heart to Heart- 4 Minute

OK, I’m loving 4 Minute for this song! I’ll rant about this in pretty much every rating category ^^

Lyrics: 6/5
Let me start with this: FINALLY A 4 MINUTE SONG THAT ISN’T EXACTLY LIKE EVERY OTHER ONE!!!!! The song itself is very simple, but you don’t hear songs like this often, so they got a bonus point. The lyrics are a message to a boyfriend who is drifting away, making the girl feel lonely and sad. Instead of crying over the impending breakup the girlfriend is demanding the boyfriend sit down and actually talk to her. She says she will back down a bit and not expect as much as before, but demands that he at least give it a chance.
Let’s have a heart to heart to heart (talk)/ tell me more like a man (more)/ not stuffily/ not pretending/ still you and I stay together/ let’s have a heart to heart to heart (talk)/ look at my eyes directly and tell me (more)/ don’t twist your words/ don’t make me mad/ now heart to heart/ you and I heart to heart to heart

Dance: 3/5
I’m just rating this kind of low because you don’t see it. Most of the MV is solo shots or story shots, you get a few glimpses of the dance, but I guess you’ll have to rely on live performances to get the full impact.

Story: 4/5
There are a few issues with the story, but I’ll mention those later. What you see first is a girlfriend and boyfriend on the couch together. He offers to massage her shoulders and they are pretty much cute and lovey-dovey. Next you see them a little later, the girlfriend is still very much into the relationship, but the boy is distant at best. So the girl and her friends (HyunA and the other 4 Minute members) do what is natural: they proceed to make the guy’s life hell until he agrees to sit down and talk with his girlfriend.

It’s a bit unclear though whose house it is. In the beginning when he’s being a stuffy boyfriend he says he is leaving, but all the pranks against him are played within the house, so it’s either his place or hers, or maybe they share it, but it doesn’t really feel like it, since she is lurking around with her friends (if he was really so distant I don’t think they’d live together…).

Most of the group shots are in the dance club from the beginning where she sees her boyfriend chatting up another girl, walks up to him, and he blatantly ignores her.

Other Things:

I love that this song actually has some kind of meaning other than “I rock, worship me”, like all other 4 Minute songs. I think this will help them get that solid fan base they need to make it more than just a few years. I kind of don’t like just how much English is in the song, just because I think it’s a shame so much of songs these days are English lyrics. Yeah it’s nice to understand them, but I agree with the articles I’ve been reading about how Korea is disappearing from Korean music, not only with English group names, but with the lyrics themselves.

Oh well though

The hair… let me just say HOLY BEEHIVE. OK, done, watch it for yourself.

I was REALLY surprised to see C.N.Blue’s Avatar (JeongShin) as the male actor for this MV- usually when another singer appears in an MV is it for a group of the same company, and CN Blue and 4 Minute are in now way controlled by the same company (FNC Entertainment vs Cube Entertainment, respectively). He does a good job though ^^

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Review Update: Before U Go- TVXQ

This update fills in the story part of the review. The original Before U Go MV was INCREDIBLY confusing, and when the movie version was released a lot was cleared up.

Story: 5/5
NOW it makes sense. The four main characters are all friends from police school, but the guy (whose name I don’t know) has a little sister who is very sick and in the hospital. He agrees to work for gangsters in exchange for his sister’s medical bills. The threat being that if he doesn’t kill his target by the appointed time then his sister will die.

He is given a book and when he is to kill the gangsters text him a series of numbers that signify a page, paragraph, line, and word, forming a message.

The friends raid the gangsters hideout, killing all there but one, who turns witness for them. The man is given the orders to kill the witness, which he does, despite wounding his friend Yunho in the process. Max finds the security footage proving it is his friend who is guilty. He finds the friend to a rooftop and is going to kill him for his betrayal when he realizes he can’t do it. He fires his gun into the air and tells the man to get lost. After taking his badge and shooting it.

Yunho checks the security footage and knows it was the guy as well, but he deletes the evidence, choosing to keep the betrayal a secret from their third friend, the girl he is in love with.

A year passes and everything moves on. The friend breaks into their computers and copies some files. He is sitting in his car talking to his sister but gets a message from the gangsters. The message translates to “Kill Changmin” (Max). He has a day to do it. He follows him to Yunho’s birthday party, planning on killing him there, but instead he joins them and tries to sit with his friends. No one says anything, though Changmin is visibly pissed.

The night wears on and he goes to leave, but his car isn’t working. Yunho lends him one of his, and the guy goes, leaving behind his book the gangsters used to send him codes.

The friends hit the gangsters again, and the man is warned not to let Changmin escape. He goes with them (I guess he is still a part of the force??? it doesn’t really make sense) and turns his gun on Changmin. Meanwhile, Yunho finds the code book and goes after him. They imply that he didn’t realize the guy was the one who shot him, but that again doesn’t really fit.

Basically they do what you saw in the original MV- rescue Changmin and stop the guy, but his sister dies. Yunho offers his hand to the man but he doesn’t take it and they leave him sitting on the floor crying.

Other Things

Again there are some confusing points to his MV, but for the most part the confusion is cleared up. A version with English subs may be better for you, since I can understand most of the Korean they use (I’ve been studying in Korea for almost 6 months now though). It feels like they didn’t quite decide if Yunho would know or not the guy betrayed him, but just ignore it.

This is one of the best movie-style MVs SM has done for a while (since Zhang Li Yin’s “Happiness Left Shore” really). They kind of got stale on that aspect for a while, so it’s good to see a decent movie MV.

The music is less of a focus here, you get a little of 2-3 songs (both the vocal and karaoke version of “Keep Your Head Down” as well as “Before U Go”).

Max’s expressions aren’t much better, but Yunho’s acting has definitely improved, and Max is slowly getting easier to watch.

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