June 2016 in Review

I’m back!

Thank you all for bearing with me for the past month ❤ It was tough, but it was worth it. I am now back and ready to jump back into all of the new comebacks!

Can I just take a moment to say WOW. I missed some amazing, amazing comebacks last month. Let’s go through some of them, shall we?

U-Kiss “Stalker

julystalker

  • Song: 4/5
  • Cinematography: 4.5/5
  • Wardrobe: 3/5
  • Dance: 4.5/5

Okay. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but I’ve noticed over the years that Kiseop is a master at looking legitimately creepy. Just look at how he eyes the girl at the end! While the song is very nice, with an old-school feel to it, the video is like a throwback to their music video for Shut Up. The whole creepy stalker concept comes across really well with all of the shady lighting and alley imagery. I’m glad they didn’t try to include a full story because the effort put in that would have taken away from already solid concept. When it comes to the choreography, I have never thought of U-KISS as a particularly impressive dance group, but this comeback changes that for me. There are so many really clean and sharp movements. My personal favorite moments: the stalker hand move and the heart-beating imagery. Both expertly subtle, and also very clever. Where I see this video falling is in the wardrobe. The main black and silver outfits just don’t have the same “cool” factor as the rest of the video.

Overall Final Score: 4/5

Drug Restaurant “Mistake

julymistake

  • Song: 4.5/5
  • Story: 4.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4/5
  • Wardrobe: 4/5

(Note: Drug Restaurant was formerly named JJY Band.)

This video is a perfect storm. We watch a poor restaurant server get pushed around by his customers and bosses, become victim to the effects of spoiled milk, and in his moment of relief have his girlfriend break up with him over text. At this point, we see him totally flip out on the entire restaurant. I like that the video goes unrealistic and even a little twisted in this moment. It is just enough to be interested, but not as over the top as many K-pop videos get. I just wish it didn’t all end up being a dream at the end. Despite the high energy song, Drug Restaurant went with a slightly slower song, but it fits. The lyrics are fast-paced, reflecting the idea of things going out of control, but the overall pace of the song has a slow, reflective, and regretful feeling. There are a couple of moments that make this song just unforgettable. The epic guitar solo. The repetition of “Who doesn’t make mistakes?” And then a line that is going on the list of favorite English lines: “Why don’t you cuff me up?”

Overall Final Score: 4.3/5

SS301 “Ah-Ha

julyahha

  • Song: 4/5
  • Story: 3.9/5
  • Cinematography: 4/5
  • Wardrobe: 5/5
  • Dance: 3/5

Look at these men showing all the kids how it’s done! Despite SS501 being part of a previous “generation” of K-pop, the members of SS301 break it down in this video as seamlessly as the rookies of today. There is just so much refreshing energy and youth in this music video. The dance isn’t actually all that complicated, but the way it is performed in the video looks great regardless. The video shows the fun story of the members causing a ruckus in a parking garage and right under the noses of the security guards. It isn’t a new story, but it is pulled off well. The members each suit their parts of the song surprisingly well. A lot of this song actually reminded me of SS501’s A Song Calling For You (circa 2008!).

Overall Final Score: 4/5

EXO “Lucky One

julyluckyone

  • Song: 4.5/5
  • Story: 4.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4.5/5
  • Wardrobe: 4.9/5

They brought the powers back! I have been waiting for this comeback since EXO’s debut. I thought for a moment that they were finished with the superpower concept for good after the little throwback in the 2013 Miracles in December. However they finally brought it back, but an ungraded, sophisticated version. The video captures the story of the EXO members as their former alien selves escaping the scrutiny of scientific study. As they flee the scientists, each of them use a small form of their Mama powers to distract and destroy the scientists. In the end however, it turns out that there was no escape and the whole ordeal was just another simulation for the study (They went Maze Runner on us!). The song is unique compared to other EXO songs, but in the best way ever.

The most frequent criticism I have heard is about Kai’s random dancing, but if you really think about it, it could fit into his power. His original power was teleportation, and dancing involves quick movements, right? Since this video shows an upgraded version of the powers, what if dancing is the upgraded version of teleportation? His dance was really him subtly moving his body around the room to confuse the scientists and distract them so that Lay can escape. It’s a stretch, but I think it could work.

Overall Final Score: 4.6/5

EXO “Monster

julymonster3

  • Song: 4.9/5
  • Story: 3/5
  • Cinematography: 4.5/5
  • Wardrobe: 3.5/5
  • Dance: 4.5/5

Of all messages, what I see most in this video is no matter what they do, EXO is at the top. The dance scenes not only reflect the crazy dance skill EXO has, but all of the members simply exude confidence in those scenes. The song is just as captivating as the dance. The producers mastered the creepy sound with this one, with the chilling lyrics and the mystifying instrumental. Chanyeol’s monotone chanting in the background of parts of the song is the most memorable aspect for me. The music video captures the story of the members of EXO being beaten and detained, and then released by Baekhyun. The story should have been developed a little more, or in my opinion taken out completely. The captivating dance and edgy wardrobe was done well enough that the video didn’t really need a story.

I really think this may be my favorite EXO song of all time. It hits everything I like in music. I also predict that the sliding move done in the final chorus is going to become an iconic moment in K-pop.

Overall Final Score: 4.1/5

Tiffany “Heartbreak Hotel” (ft. Simon Dominic)

julyheartbreak

  • Song: 4.5/5
  • Story: 4.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4.9/5
  • Wardrobe: 4.9/5

Breakup stories are so overdone in the music world, but I have to say that this one may be my favorite. Tiffany and Simon Dominic both display phenomenal acting in this video. In the beginning, Tiffany looks so genuinely lost, and throughout the relationship Simon D very creepily displays his pride so clearly on his face. The story essentially describes the relationship of a scum of a guy taking advantage of the trust of a vulnerable girl, making her feel safe and loved, and then ditching her for another girl. The pacing of the story is perfect in showing the development of the story and focusing on Tiffany’s emotions at each stage, and the lighting overall provides very appropriate accents. It isn’t a pleasant story, but I am so happy they decided to tell this one. Some guys are just looking for an opportunity, not a real relationship, and the video captured this in what could be a very real scenario. I also will venture to say that this may be one of the most beautiful songs released thus far from SM’s Station project.

Overall Final Score: 4.7/5

San E & Raina “Sugar and Me

julysugarandme

  • Song: 3.5/5
  • Story: 3.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4/5
  • Wardrobe: 4.5/5

A video all about candy and sweets? Count me in! This video is full of images of all sorts of candy as we listen to San E and Raina sing and rap about their “sweet” love. The chemistry in male-female duets are always alluring, however I feel like there is too much contrast between San E’s rapper voice and Raina’s extremely delicate voice. They both sound great individually, but together more coordination is needed. The story makes up for the disconnect in the song. We meet a girl who is obsessed with sweets, and eventually see the guy also fall for sweets. On the surface the story seems simple, but I see a very nice metaphor in there. While the references are to sweet food, the song and video could be symbolic of the sweetness of a relationship. I especially appreciate how the producers did not go over the top in their “sweet” imagery. We get the point, but it isn’t shoved in our face with bright colors and outrageous costumes.

Overall Final Score: 3.9/5

Baek Yerin “Bye Bye My Blue

julybyebye

  • Song: 3.9/5
  • Story: 3.5/5
  • Cinematography: 3.5/5
  • Wardrobe: 4/5

In a month of upbeat and energetic, Yerin brought us the soft and soothing song. She showcases her unique and beautiful voice very nicely with this song. I find the story to be a little difficult to pick apart, but this is what I got: She has a crush on her older guy friend, and because of the obvious difference in maturity between the two of them, she is reluctant to tell him how she feels. It is a cute story, but the reason it is difficult to understand is that there is no real ending. Do they end up together? Does she abandon her crush and simply enjoy their brother-sister relationship? We never know, and that is unfortunately not very satisfying. However, I still like the unique idea of a younger girl crushing on an older guy. They do a great job at accentuating the differences between the two. It is clear that he finds her amusing, which is sweet in its own way, but I wish we could have known the outcome of their relationship.

Overall Final Score: 3.9/5

gugudan “Wonderland

julywonderland

  • Song: 3.5/5
  • Story: 3.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4.5/5
  • Wardrobe: 3/5
  • Dance: 4/5

gugudan’s debut has solidified in my mind that concepts isn’t just VIXX’s specialty; it’s a specialty of Jellyfish. This music video goes above and beyond to bring gugudan’s underwater “wonderland” to life. Each set is so pretty and creative. Having the dance scene done on water is a very nice touch. While the song and video touches on the sickeningly sweet in K-pop, the story and dance brings the video closer to normalcy. Some of the dance is a little too cheerleader for my liking, but the majority of it is fun and dynamic. They get the waves and floating imagery down pat.

Sidenote: I absolutely love the concept of having each music video of gugudan be different “acts” in their theater. This was just “Act 1” and I can’t wait to see the next acts of their show. It is such a creative concept, and I am always drawn in when a group debuts with a concept already in place (like EXO with the superpowers story).

Overall Final Score: 3.7/5

Taeyeon “Why

julywhy

  • Song: 4.5/5
  • Story: 4.5/5
  • Cinematography: 4.9/5
  • Wardrobe: 3.9/5

There is something really bright and refreshing about this video, and the story is surprisingly beautiful. We see Taeyeon experience a foreign land and cross out all of the things on her bucket list, only to find her at the end placing the photos of her adventures in front of a monument of some sort. I can’t quite tell if it is a grave, but if that is the case, then the writers did an amazing job at turning a fun video into something very meaningful. She isn’t having fun just for the heck of it, but rather she is living life to the fullest in memory of a loved one who was not able to. The video backs a fun and energetic song, which in my opinion is the best of Taeyeon’s singles as a soloist. There are a couple of scenes that don’t quite fit and a few awkwardly pronounced phrases in the song, but the overall pleasing aesthetics of the video and sounds of the song easily cover up any imperfections.

Overall Final Score: 4.5/5

For the record, I wanted to write a full review of EXO’s Monster. I had so much more to say about it than what I fit in this post.

I’m not quite sure yet how to handle the comebacks for July yet. I do have a couple of videos that I would love to review, but we are so far into July that I wonder if reviewing something from the first week of the month is still relevant. At the moment I’m most inclined to review NCT 127’s “Firetruck.” Is that something you would like to see? Or should I move on to more current comebacks from the second half of the month?


Question of the Day:

How do you interpret the story of EXO’s Monster? What do you think of gugudan as VIXX’s little sister group?


#NowPlaying: Rewind by GOT7. I got my Flight Log album last weekend and gave the songs a real listen, this one resulting in my favorite one of the album! It was written by Youngjae, which is surprising considering how hip-hop it sounds. This is one of those addicting beats that I won’t forget for a while.


Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!

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5 thoughts on “June 2016 in Review

  1. Hi~! 😁 Honestly speaking, my most awaited comeback was YOURS! 😆 How was Eid? 😃

    I’m in love with both of EXO’s new singles. Monster made me fall in love with their dancing skills all over again. Baekhyun looks absolutely gorgeous. 😍 I have this song on repeat almost everyday. I feel like it sounds like Overdose Version 2.
    Lucky Ones is such ear candy. I found the beat and music similar to Love Me Right, which I love just as much. On a side note, I too found Kai’s random dancing awkward and hilarious. 😂 It would be much cooler and easier to escape if he’d just teleport and meet up with the other members. Oh well, at least they’ve brought back their powers. Oh, and I like the part in which Suho and Xiu just stop to drink some water. 😂

    I’d love to read a full-length review of Monster by you. And Lucky Ones too! Please? 😣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you! That means so much ❤ Eid was nice. We went house-hopping, so I got to see a lot of family. How was Eid for you? Eid Mubarak! 😉

      Your comment about Baekhyun reminded me of something: When EXO first debuted, before I knew any of their names, Baekhyun was the one I initially thought was my bias. In their early days he was probably second after Lay, but I sort of forgot about him in recent years. Then the moment I saw him in Monster and Lucky One, I fangirled more than I thought I was capable of. He's officially on the list of biases again!

      I may got back and write a review of Lucky One, since that one had more of a story, though I'd to format it a little differently than my regular reviews since I already scored it and everything in this post. I'm thinking of going through the timeline of the superpower concept or something like that. What do you think?

      Like

      1. Eid was fun! All of my relatives came over to my house, and we had our annual mega Eid party. 😄
        Oh God, the reason I became an EXO-L is BECAUSE of Baekhyun. He was the first one I got to know about, and the one I found really attractive and adorable. He was my very first k-pop love! 😊 After I got to know all the members, my bias changed from Baek to Sehun to Luhan and finally D.O., the last being my bias the longest. Until I sat down and watched Monster. I fell in love with Baek all over again. I realised how much I used to adore him and that I now missed him. I finally decided that he’s gonna be my permanent bias. 😄 I guess I have a special attachment to him, he’s ultimately meant to remain my EXO bias no matter how many bias wreckers come my way. 😆
        Anyway, the timeline idea sounds cool… I’d like to see how you’ll pull it off. 😉 Go ahead!

        Like

  2. Even though I’m no longer part of the Exo fandom, I still watched Monster just to see what the fuss was about, and I was not disappointed at all. Especially with what I saw with the dance, it was super cool 🙂

    As for Gugudan, it’s weird. I don’t even hardly pay attention to them, but whenever I see a video of theirs in my suggested videos, I get this proud feeling. Probably since Vixx is my ultimate bias group, and seeing as Gugudan is their sister group, I guess those feelings kinda seated themselves in me? Lol I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I did watch the Wonderland music video though, and I saw a lot of potential in them, so I guess that’s another reason.

    Like

    1. I totally understand what you mean about gugudan. Normally I’m not a fan of their kind of style, but I feel a sort of affection for them since they’re VIXX’s little sisters.

      Like

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