This month's album isn't really KPop but it deserves the honor and the recognition it might get from the handful of visitors this website might wind up with from time to time. They don't dance, they write their own songs, they play instruments, and they produce really, really good songs.
If you've been into KPop for a while, you might get entrenched, holding on to the biases you won't admit you have and resisting anything new or younger to displace them from their pedestals. You see it all the time in the YouTube comment section. "Oh, I miss the old days of KPop... yeah, back in 2013..." But then there are times when you just have to get the hell out of the way of yourself. This might be one of those times.
The second release from one of the most innovative and storied groups in KPop once again cuts against the grain with a timeless melody that almost beckons a roaring twenties flapper anthem. However, the tone of the song, the vocal style, lyrics, and accompanying video, are decided dour, maxing for a strange mix of musical themes.
While there were several notable releases by Korean female vocal artists this week, and many with more attention than this one, this selection is emblematic of a major trend in both the international music industry, SM Entertainment's marketing strategy, and the direction of one of Korea's most popular vocal groups.
Mamamoo: New York
Just the other day I was explaining Mamamoo to someone who thought that it was odd that I actually listened to Korean music (join the club). Trying to come up with an western group that have a similar sound, I compared them to Little Feat and their saucy retrogumbo mix of R&B, Funk, Jazz, Blues, Rock and Pop. It might have been a slight stretch, but not much.
Red Velvet: Russian Roulette
Yes, we're a little late with this one, and the extra time we took to hoist this little perky ditty up on the KPOppa.com website was needed to let it steep a little in our minds, anxious with high expectations for the comeback of Korea's state-of-the-art girl group, Red Velvet.
WJSN (Cosmic Girls): The Secret
Okay, normally I don't go for this kind of giant aegyo group. Sure, I'm down with the huge boyband/girlgroup thing, having spent more time than I care to admit watching Afterschool, 9Muses, or even SNSD. When does a girl group become more like, well, the Laker Girls? Singing cheerleaders? It seems weird but probably only because I'm from Massachusetts and not Hiroshima or Busan.