Monday, November 13, 2017

Ranking Got7's Title Tracks/ Singles

Although INFINITE was the group that introduced me to KPop, I think Got7 is probably the group that made me fall in love with the genre itself. When I first started listening to Infinite, I considered it a minor diversion in my music taste. One of those rare musicians that I love that's slightly outside of the music I actually listen to. And then, Got7 came along and made me fall completely in love with them as a group and really got me to want to listen to more and more KPop. So, since I've already ranked my favorite Infinite title tracks and album tracks, it only makes sense to move on to Got7's title tracks-- including their Japanese releases. I did a video ranking my top 10, which is embedded below!

Fairly important note-- I take my list of singles from Wikipedia. Whether or not a song is considered a "single" can be somewhat vague, given the many different promotions that they do for their music, so I just use the list on Wiki. This time, though, the list didn't include Confession Song for some reason, so I added that to the list, as well as their most recent Japanese single that has yet to be added to Wiki. That gives us a grand total of 18 Got7 songs that I'll be ranking today.

Please remember that this list is solely based on my own personal preference. I know that there are certain songs that I definitely don't like as much as most other fans. I know that I have a strong bias toward or against certain eras, concepts, and styles of music, and I fully acknowledge that. As I always say, I fully respect your opinion, and I hope that you'll respect mine in return. I like all of these songs, so just know that although I'm criticizing them, it's a criticism in relation to their other songs and to how good I know Got7's music can be. I like even the songs at the bottom of the ranking better than most other music out there.

18) Around the World

There's not a version of this song available on YouTube, so I've uploaded the MV. This is my first time uploading a video to Blogger, so apologies if it doesn't work. 

Before I get into Around the World specifically, I want to talk quickly about their Japanese singles in comparison to their Korean singles. They have a really different sound between the two languages/countries, and because of that I found it really hard to compare the two. I feel like their Japanese singles are just totally bombastic and in-your-face 24/7. While their Korean releases sometimes are as well (hi, Hard Carry!), there's much more variety, and they're often slightly more subdued and nuanced. I like each sound in their own way, so (as previously stated) it can be a bit difficult to compare them.

Anyway, on the topic of Around the World, I want to stress that I still really like this song. Got7 are one of my ult groups for a reason. The chorus is really fun, and I really love the pre-chorus too. The thing I think is slightly off is that it feels like multiple songs stuck together in a not-so-cohesive way. The chorus and verses are so disparate from each other and then there's a really massive dance break that only feels dynamic when actually watching the MV and seeing the members do martial arts tricks. The structure of it is just a bit off for me, and that's the main reason that it winds up at the bottom. Plus, despite the chorus being fun, it pales in comparison to almost any of their other choruses. 

17) Fly (2016)

Yep, my controversial opinions have already started. I feel like this, while not Got7's most-loved title track, is at least one of the ones I was the most aware of when I first started getting into the group. The song pops up quite often on KPop quiz videos, and I feel like it's one that non-Ahgases would be more familiar with. But, for some reason, Fly has just never really grabbed me the same way that their other Korean title tracks have. The rap lines are pretty great (I love Mark's part), but the entire thing is kinda low-energy for me. I think that Nick from The Bias List already said a lot of the things about this song that I want to say, so I'll just link his review here and move up the list.

16) Girls Girls Girls (2014)

This is one of those songs where I'm glad I'm not fluent in Korean, because the lyrics just make me cringe when I read them. The actual music of the song is perfectly enjoyable. Still not one of my all-time favorite Got7 songs, but otherwise would be slightly higher on the list (somewhere around 10-ish). But the lyrics are just kinda cringey. They remind me of overly-cocky high school/middle school boys that I hated as a teenager... and still hate now lol. Basically, the lyrics sound like they're trying a bit too hard to sound cool, which is ironic given that the song would've been much cooler had the lyrics not been trying so hard to be cool. 

15) Laugh Laugh Laugh (2015)

Apologies for the weird fading in and out in the video, but Japanese releases are so hard to find on YouTube. Ugh. Anyway, Laugh Laugh Laugh's strongest point for me is, per usual, the chorus. It's fun, it's light-hearted, and it's fun to bop to. The last 45 seconds or so are lots of fun-- the dance break and subsequent slight change in structure is really interesting, and something I would've liked to see more throughout the song. Otherwise, I think there's not too much that's really that noteworthy about the song. It's fun, but it's just simply not as good as some of their other singles.

14) Love Train (2015)

Any pop song that's really electric-guitar driven is going to be a song that I gravitate toward. It's kinda a given at this point. I love alternative & rock music, so when its influence seeps into pop, I love it. To be perfectly honest, the only reason it's not higher is just that I like Got7's other title tracks better. I think the only parts I don't like about are the little brief insertions of lines in English from the rap line. IDK, they feel awkward for some reason? In fact, I think the rap parts are probably the weakest point of the song for me. They're not bad by ANY means but if I had to pick out my least favorite part of the song, it's the rap parts. I love the high energy chorus, and even the dance break is really interesting and fun for me. It's a really interesting, different sound for the group that they haven't really ever explored more since then, and I think that it's a really fun diversion for them. 

13) Confession Song (2015)

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, Wiki didn't count this one as a single for some reason, despite the fact that it has a music video. I figured it would be silly to include so many songs without MVs and leave this one off, so I added it onto the list. I'm not big on holiday music, so I love that Confession Song has a really clear holiday theme (the bells in the background tho), but isn't centered around Christmas itself, instead focusing upon confessing to someone. It keeps it away from being just a cheesy holiday release, and keeps it firmly within "cute love song" land. Seriously, the lyrics of this song are absolutely adorable and sweet.

12) Hey Yah (2016)

For me, this is the epitome of a guilty pleasure song, which is how I kinda feel about Got7's Japanese releases in general. The quality isn't up to the standard of their Korean releases, but it's just so much fun. Hey Yah is bombastic in the best way possible. It's loud and constantly in-your-face, but I can't help but love it. Jinyoung rapping is a serious soft spot for me-- I can't get enough of it. And JB's part in the chorus is simultaneously the most obnoxious and fun part of the song. Seriously, I have such trouble explaining my love of this song, because I think that objectively it's probably among their weaker title tracks, but subjectively I just can't help but blast it and jam out to it.

11) Yo Moriagatte Yo (2016)

Well, it's finally happened. I can't find a legit video on YouTube of this song, and there's not really a good one of it elsewhere either. So... you just get text. It's not that difficult to find the song itself and download it, but finding videos is apparently impossible. Anyway, I think that this is probably one of Got7's better Japanese singles. It's not quite as in-your-face as most of their other Japanese singles, but it lets some of the singers show off their rapping talent. And most of them are actually pretty good at it. I think JB is probably the worst rapper of the group, but at the same time, his rather aggressive pre-chorus is probably my favorite part of the song. My least favorite thing about the song is that Jinyoung is basically nowhere to be found. I swear, I listened to it so many times listening for him & couldn't find him. Then, I looked up the lyrics and discovered that apparently BOTH Jackson and Jinyoung have the chorus together, but you really can't hear Jinyoung at all IMO. Which is a shame, given that he's the best rapper of the vocalists. I think his voice would've been great on JB's pre-chorus but that's just me.

10) Turn Up (2017)

I wasn't expecting this to pop up on YouTube when it did, and then suddenly it was there, in my ears, and I was loving it. Like I've already said about Got7's Japanese releases, it almost feels like a guilty pleasure for me, except that I don't feel bad about liking it. The actual quality of the song isn't quite to the standard of some of their better Korean releases but it's so catchy and fun. This is one of those songs where I'd roll the windows down in my car and just absolutely blast it while driving (coincidentally, this is exactly what they do in the MV). On top of that, the MV is so full of some of their favorite dumb memes that I can't help but fall in love with it. 

9) Stop Stop It (2014)

For a while, this was my least favorite of Got7's Korean singles. It's only moved up a couple spots, but I do definitely love it a lot more than I did when first starting to listen to them. As should be obvious given that I've put their Japanese releases lower in my rankings, Got7's Korean title tracks are extremely strong and there are enough of them that I absolutely love & am obsessed with that this one winds up at #9 despite the fact that I really love it. It's important for me to note here that in terms of my preference, the largest gap on this list exists between the top half & bottom half (aka between #9 & #10). Not that I dislike the bottom half of the list, just that these top 9 are in a league of their own. Honestly, doing this ranking has kinda sparked a new-found love for Stop Stop It that wasn't quite there before-- at least not in the same way.

Side note, the crazy boyfriend version of the dance practice is 100% worth watching over & over. These dorks go way over the top. Anyway, I think that Mark's rap is probably my favorite part of the song... apart from the fantastic chorus. Honestly, I think my favorite part about the song is actually seeing the chorus combined with its choreo. The choreo is really good for Stop Stop It, so it's really beneficial to actually be able to see them perform it. Either way, while it's not my absolute fave of their singles, it's still a really fantastic, solid, fun song. I definitely recommend watching the MV with subtitles on, which you should do for any of their MVs, but especially this one. The lyrics are actually pretty adorable, which (based on the music) I wasn't expecting that first time I read them.

8) My Swagger (2017)

Although I still feel like My Swagger is a guilty pleasure song (mostly bc of the word swagger. That word just makes me cringe and have flashbacks to junior high.) but for me it's definitely their best Japanese single by far. Per usual, I was a bit late getting to their Japanese singles, but this one was the first one I listened to, and the one that grabbed me the most. The music video definitely helped with that, given that it's just the 7 of them being their weird selves, JB's bucket hat and all. Also, Jinyoung and JB take the chorus and I'll take any and all JJP moments that I can get. Honestly, this song is just so, so much fun and I love the way the members' lines weave together. It's just great. 

7) You Are (2017)

I might be slightly more biased than usual here, given that this was my first comeback as an Ahgase and given that it's finally a title track written by one of the members YAY GO JB. But, that being said, this is just a fantastic song from top to bottom, and I love everything about the comeback, the MV, and the song. The chorus is fantastic and highlights the 2 main vocalists really, really well. The line distribution is pretty solid too (which should be a given, since the comeback's concept is all about unity and Got7's friendship). Plus, the choreo for this one is just so soft for a Got7 song. It's almost as pure pop as they can get, but we'll get to that perfection in a minute. This is just a really fantastic, soft song for them, and it was a really nice change of pace and did I mention that a member of Got7 finally wrote the title track yayyyyy. OK, I'll stop now.

6) A (2014)

I've been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions with A. The first time I heard it, I liked it, but the ogling of Sana in the MV weirded me out (it still does-- stop following Sana around, y'all), and that turned me off from the song. I still enjoyed the music, so I kept it in the Got7 rotation and eventually looked up the lyrics and gained an appreciation for the song separate from the MV. Now, obviously, it's one of my favorite songs by them, but it clearly took quite a while to actually get to this point. The chorus is mega-catchy, the choreo is appropriately adorable, and Jackson's infamous JYP rap part is fantastic.

5) Home Run (2016)

I absolutely love Home Run. It's probably not one that anyone expected to see this high on the list, and some people are likely to be surprised that it's even on the list, given that there's no MV and it's not technically a "title track." But Wiki counted it, and therefore it gets to go on the list and I get to gush about how much I love this song. First of all, if you haven't seen the video embedded above, watch it. It's hilarious and adorable. Aside from that, the chorus of this song is absolutely fantastic. It's not necessarily a complex chorus, but it's a constantly changing chorus. The chorus of the song is almost 45 seconds long, and each time it appears, 6/7 members get a line, meaning that it integrates both the vocalists and the rappers into it, which isn't super common for their singles. I can only think of one other Got7 song with that many sections to the chorus, and it'll be just a bit longer before we get to it. It would be easy for the catchiness to be lost due to the constant changing, but it's not at all. And I haven't even mentioned the verses of this song, which are super interesting as well. Seriously, the little "ooooooh baby" section and the accompanying dance are fantastic. Side note, JB is almost unrecognizable in the DP because of his glasses, but I love every second of it.

4) Never Ever (2017)

If memory serves me right (it usually does, but it's been spotty with my introductions to KPop groups), this was the first Got7 song I heard. That was when I was only really into Infinite and I hadn't gotten into any KPop past that point. I was curious about Got7 because their videos had popped up over and over in my recommended tab on YouTube, and finally I caved. Admittedly, I wasn't sold the first time. A couple weeks later, I listened to other Got7 songs, fell in love, and re-listened to this one... and wondered why I wasn't sold the first time. I was about to start listing my favorite moments of the song, but there are just too many. Pretty much any time the rap line opens their mouths in this song, I'm obsessed. Especially with BamBam's "brrrrah." But the rest of the song is really great as well. The chorus is pretty simple, but it's super catchy and fun.

3) Hard Carry (2016)

This was it, y'all. Not necessarily the song that made me fall in love with Got7 (patience, young padawan) but it's the one that made me want to hear more. I was told that it had good line distribution and got curious to listen. And once I finally listened, it just made me curious to hear more. It's definitely the hardest-hitting, most bombastic of their Korean singles, and that's probably why it's my most played song on iTunes, followed closely by Just Right (we'll get there soon, promise). It starts out so perfectly-- Jackson getting gravelly and showing off his abs. Gotta love Wang puppo. Every member has their moment in the spotlight, and it's really fun to watch.

2) Just Right (2015)

This song, y'all. This song. It's seriously the cutest thing in the entire world. And not only is it absolutely adorable, it gives Got7 the chance to be their goofy adorable selves. The chorus of this song is just absolutely fantastic. Like with Home Run, there are multiple different sections to the chorus, and they're all fantastic. My personal favorite is probably the section where they're just saying a squiggly little "you" over and over again, because the choreo is so hilariously adorable throughout that section. This is one of those songs that's just so good and obviously fantastic that I have difficulty explaining why it's so good. Honestly, I think the song just speaks for itself. It's their most-viewed music video for a reason. It's just simply fantastic.

1) If You Do (2015)

This is it, y'all. The song that made me fall in love with Got7. When I heard this song, I was immediately impressed and needed more. Have you ever heard a song and everything just felt right? It's not even necessarily a "Whoa I love this! It's so good" thing, but almost like... oddly satisfying. That's how I felt the first time I listened to this song. The overall vibe, the way the rhythm of the vocals combined with the music, paired with the intricate footwork... it was better than any "oddly satisfying" video I've ever seen. That may sound like a weird way to describe the song, but that's how I felt the first time I listened to it. It just fit together in the most satisfying way for me, and I fell completely in love.

And obviously, that's still how I feel given that it's my #1 favorite Got7 title track. It's also my favorite Got7 song ever, and possibly my favorite KPop song. That's how much I love If You Do. So don't expect to see it going anywhere any time soon. My love for this song is deep and enduring. As far as my favorite part of the song, it's JB's part of the chorus by a landslide, followed by Jinyoung's opening section. The beginning of the song was great, but JB's section of the chorus is what made me fall in love. Jackson's parts are also really fantastic. And on top of the fantastic song, the vibe of the comeback and music video is just absolutely stunning. The colors in the music video are absolutely beautiful, the overall grunge aesthetic is literally my favorite thing on the planet, and the scene of them in all black makes me weak in the knees. This song is honestly just absolutely fantastic and I can't say enough good things about it.

So, that's it for my ranking of Got7's title tracks! I plan to do a ranking of my top Got7 album tracks, but it'll take me a while to get through those and figure out how many I'm including on that list and where everything goes, so it might be a little while before I get that done, especially since I'm doing a lot of other things in the process. Let me know down in the comments what your favorite Got7 title tracks are! 

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Top 10 Songs October 2017

I'm back once again to talk about the songs that I had on constant repeat all month. This month was kinda tricky, because one of my bias groups put out a new mini-album, I was ranking Infinite's album tracks, and I was falling more and more and more in love with Day6, who's now definitively my FAVORITE BAND. So, my listening was kinda all over the place, and there weren't really that many songs by my my bias groups that I listened to more than others. It was spread pretty fairly. 

But, I managed to put together my list of songs that are the ones I latched onto more than the others. Any other important songs will also definitely be noted, if I wasn't able to include them. This month has a bit more variety than the last one, but... y'all know me. I latch onto my groups and obsess. 

Last note before jumping into the 10 songs I've had on constant repeat- more than ever before, I'm still definitely listening to last month's songs. Literally any of the Day6 songs I included would have a home on here. I honestly almost put Blood on here again. But, since I've still just got all of the music by the band on repeat, I decided I'd give some new songs a chance. And, as usual, the song that I've had on repeat the most throughout the month is last. Because save the best for last, right? Aight, let's jump in.

Red Flavor by Red Velvet

For quite a while, I've been drawn to Red Velvet's singles. I like to watch a lot of "Guess the KPop Song" videos, and any time their music popped up, I was always intrigued to check out more. Finally, in October, I downloaded all of their singles that I really liked (which I think is almost all of them haha... sorry, Rookie, not you.). I'd already found the chorus of Red Flavor super catchy, but I loved it even more when listening to the full song. The other song by them that's really grabbed me is Ice Cream Cake (their most popular, I think), and while I think I prefer that one overall, Red Flavor is the one I've listened to more. The chorus is just so dang catchy. I don't think I know the members well enough to have a definitive bias, but so far I think it's Wendy.

Gorilla by Pentagon

I think that every single month of these lists so far, I've named a group as the one I'm most likely to stan a month from now. That award goes to Pentagon this month, and I've never felt more confident in that prediction, because it's already started. Anyway, Pentagon isn't a new discovery for me-- in fact, Critical Beauty, their summer release, was one of the first KPop songs I really fell in love with. But, after that, I kinda just moved on and decided to check them out later. Well, friends, later has come. Throughout the entire month, I've kinda just been listening to them more and more, culminating in me downloading almost all of their music by the end of the month. But Gorilla was the first one I fell in love with this month. I had it on constant repeat for the first week, and it's had a pretty steady rotation ever since. I really enjoy their music, and am itching to watch Pentagon Maker, because they seem really fun as people too. I'm fairly certain my bias is E'Dawn (whose voice/rap style initially was weird to me, but I'm obsessed now), but I also really like Hongseok, Yuto, and possibly Yeo One, Hui, and Jinho. The problem with a 10 member group is that there are too many people to love. HELP.

Pretty Pretty by Pentagon

I've had this song stuck in my head since the first time I heard it, and I think I've watched the video embedded above at least 5 times a day. It wasn't chosen as the title track from their second mini-album, but honestly, it probably should've been. Five Senses is a really solid mini-album, and the title track, Can You Feel It, is a really solid song, but Pretty Pretty is (IMO) far superior. It's Pentagon at their cutest, which is pretty dang adorable. Seriously, every single member of the group is going full-on aegyo, bouncing around the stage & clearly having tons of fun while doing it. Even Yuto makes a half-attempt at being cute, which is saying a lot for Yuto. This song is just insanely catchy and I'm continually mystified as to how this wasn't chosen as the title. C'mon, Cube, do better. They deserve it. Anyway, on top of the two songs I've mentioned, I've also had a huge chunk of their music on constant repeat, especially their most recent title track, Like This, and Critical Beauty (aka the song that introduced them to me). I've also been listening to the Five Senses mini & Demo_01 mini a lot as well. 

Good Night by Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher is another group from the list of "groups I need to listen to eventually" that has finally moved into the "why didn't I listen to them sooner" list, because whoa their music is fantastic. Dreamcatcher, to me, is super unique because they do rock music, but they're a dance group, not an instrumental group. And their music videos are absolutely stunning and such a perfect October/Halloween aesthetic. I'm obsessed. Good Night is my favorite of their songs, but I also absolutely love Chase Me. They're a rookie group (their first MV was released earlier this year), so there's not a ton of music to consume by them, but so far I've loved everything. Looking forward to seeing what they do going forward. I'm not familiar enough with the members to have a bias (srsly, I can't even remember most of their names off the top of my head), but I do find myself drawn to SuA when she's on-screen. This might end up being the first girl group I legit stan.

You Are by Got7

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, one of my bias groups released a new mini-album this month, and that was Got7. AKA possibly my ult bias group. At the very least, Got7, Infinite, and Day6 are all in competition for my favorite group. Anyway, I'm in love with You Are. It's not my favorite Got7 single, but to be fair, I'm not sure any song could take that title away from If You Do, since it's literally my favorite KPop song. The chorus is just so bright, and the choreo is just so soft for Got7, and FINALLY their title track is one that one of the members wrote (love u, JB). I'm really torn about whether or not this is the title track I would've chosen (we'll get there) but as a song it's really just so great. 

Teenager by Got7

Speaking of Got7's new mini-album, we've now arrived at my favorite album track on it. To be honest, I'm pretty sure it's everyone's favorite album track on the mini. Even the group. (Seriously, JB wrote both the title & Teenager, and just watch how much more fun JB has with Teenager. The boy can't stop smiling when performing the song. Even in the thumbnail, you can tell he's loving life.). Obviously, You Are is the one that's been promoted the most, but I feel like Teenager is right up there with it. They keep releasing paired videos-- performances, dance practices, etc, promoting Teenager almost as much as You Are. Either way, Teenager is probably my favorite above You Are, but I'm not totally sure about that. I also absolutely love Face and almost put that one on the list, but I haven't had that on constant repeat the same way I have with Teenager. I love that Got7 is involved in the writing & composing of all of their songs at this point, and I'm starting to realize that JB's songs are usually my favorites (followed by my boiiii, Jinyoung). Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite songs they've released all year... but don't make me try to rank them.

My Swagger by Got7

Per usual, I'm a bit late to the game when it comes to Japanese releases. I didn't listen to My Swagger until late September, despite the fact that I've been listening to the group since July. And I didn't know that the MV for Turn Up was releasing on Monday. It just popped up on my YouTube & I freaked (Also, it's a bop and might pop up on next month's list. Probably). Anyway, the first time I listened to My Swagger, my immediate thought was "Swagger? Really? How corny is that? How old are we, 13?" But whoaaaa is it a bop. I think I listened to it like 10 times in a row that first day that I heard it. It's not really a totally different sound for Got7, but it kinda feels like it is. It feels really fresh for Got7, and feels a bit harder than most of their releases. Except Hard Carry, obv. But then it's paired with this MV that just makes me laugh because they're basically kids trying to be cool and it's adorkable. I love these kids. And this song is an absolute jam.

Freely by Day6

Apart from the title track, Congratulations, Freely is probably my favorite track on Day6's first mini, The Day. I think I tend to gravitate toward the songs in Day6's early discography (AKA before EveryDay6 in 2017) where Young K has a really solid rap part. I'm feeling nice today and calling him by his stage name. IDK why. Anyway, his rap is fantastic on Freely. It's the first song on their debut mini, and it gets things started out so well, because not only is the song really solid across the board, but Young K's (almost typed Brian, oops. I'm trying here) rap section not only shows off his rapping abilities, but also his vocal skill, since he's really doing a mix between singing and rapping. But apart from that, the rest of the song stands on its own as a super solid album track. Sungjin and Jae trade off lines so perfectly, and Wonpil's vocals are fantastic as well. Honestly, these dorks can do no wrong. I'm obsessed with them.

Hunt by Day6

Last month, I think I fell so in love with Blood (probably still my all-time fave Day6 album track... but don't quote me on that) that I kinda neglected the rest of the Daydream mini. Which is a shame, because after listening to the whole thing several times through, Hunt immediately stood out as just as good as Blood. Young K's rap part is absolutely fantastic. Every time he says "Girl, I can make you feel alive," and hip thrusts, I'm tempted to yell at him for trying to kill me instead. Anyway, apart from his fantastic rap section, the rest of the song is just super hype. It's such a fun song, and definitely one that you can just turn up and absolutely blast and jam to. Definitely a solid album track, and probably just about right up there with Blood.

I Need Somebody/Why Am I Alone by Day6

I'll admit, when I first watched the MV for "When You Love Someone," I was just slightly disappointed. As I think I've demonstrated fairly obviously throughout these posts, I tend to lean toward more aggressive or hype songs versus ballads or slower, more emotional songs. So, given that we've gotten some more mellow songs from Day6 lately, I was kinda hoping for something a bit more in-your-face. So basically, I was hoping for cake and got ice cream instead. It's still great, and upon second listen, I fell in love, but it wasn't exactly what I was craving from them (apologies for this horrible analogy. Now I just want cake...).

Anyway, I was anxious to hear the B-side, because I was hoping for a slightly more hype song. And when it started off with the soft piano chords, I almost groaned because I simply wasn't in the mood for two ballads on the same release. Nonetheless, I was enjoying it... and then Brian came in (screw it, he's Brian again. Sorry, Young K). The sudden shift from the verse to the chorus was just so fantastic, and then back into the verse, and then the whistle break before moving into the even more intense chorus, and then finally into the pop-punk-esque breakdown... needless to say, I was almost crying of happiness by the end. It's not exactly a "hype" track, per-se, but it's an incredibly well-written song. It's constantly changing. It never repeats anything in the exact same way as it has already been presented. It constantly undermines your expectations-- the sudden intense vocals, the whistle break, the breakdown at the end. It's just one of those songs where you sit back and find yourself loving every second of it while simultaneously being incredibly impressed by the musicians. It's not even a super complicated song, it's just one that shows that these guys know exactly what they're doing, and they're extremely impressive at it.

Not kidding, someone uploaded an hour-long loop of this song, and I listened to the entire thing in a single sitting while doing work. That's how much I love this song. Seriously, every single human deserves to hear this song at least once. It's that good. Day6 continually impress me with every single release, and I continue to fall more and more in love. EveryDay6 November gets released in only a few days and I'm getting so excited. I need it in my life ASAP. And I now realize that I've been talking about this song for 3 paragraphs now, so it's time for me to shut up. But seriously, listen to this song. It's perfect.

Like last month, I want to briefly touch on what I predicted last month, and what I think I'll be listening to a month from now. Last month, I didn't make too many predictions, except that I'd fall even more in love with Day6. Check, check, and CHECK. As for BTS, obviously they didn't show up on the list this month, but that's mostly because I've been listening to the songs of theirs that I've already put on the list, rather than discovering new ones. I'd still say that they're solidly in 4th place on my bias list, but now that Pentagon has asserted itself, their position is definitely being challenged. I think that once I get more into Pentagon and get to know the members better, they'll be pretty firmly above BTS. I'm not sure that they can work their way up into my ultimate bias groups, but we'll see what happens. They're still a rookie group, so they've got a ton of time to release more music and work their way into my heart even more. Like I said, my bias is definitely E'Dawn, but there are several other members who I really like. I'm guessing Yuto, Yeo One, Hui, Jinho, and Hongseok will also be up there, but like I said, 10 members. Way too many people to love.

So that's it for my top 10 songs of the month. I feel like I was a bit too wordy in this last bit, so I'll keep this short. November's playlist is already off to a great start, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that!

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Friday, October 20, 2017

How I Got Into K Pop

For me, 2017 has been the year of discovering new music and TV shows. This year, I've fallen in love with more new shows, songs, and musicians than I probably have in the last few years combined. And of all of these new-found obsessions, one stands out among the rest-- K Pop. Of course, 2017 was not the first time I'd ever heard of K Pop, but it was the first time I truly gained a respect for and love of the genre. So, today, in conjunction with a video that I posted on my K Pop-centric YouTube channel, I'm going to be explaining how I fell in love with K Pop and why I love it so much.

For the beginning of this story, we have to go back pretty far. Several years, in fact. And, to be honest, I'm really not totally sure how far. At the very least, we're headed back to high school. Yikes. I'm warning you, the early years of K Pop are hazy. I don't remember details, and if I do, I definitely don't know how or when I discovered things. It's gonna be a long story, so... brace yourselves.

This may come as a major shock (lol not), but I was a weird kid in school. I wasn't some social reject with no friends, but my "people" were definitely the artsy and just downright weird kids. I was in orchestra, and most of my closest friends were either in orchestra, band, or theater. And there was a subsection of those friends who, in hind-sight, probably counted as Koreaboos. Or... Weeaboos. Somewhere in that mix. They were honestly more in the "friend of a friend" category. They were close with one of my best friends, so I would sometimes end up having lunch with them or just hanging around them in the halls after school. The only way I know to describe them is that they were your typical group of weirdo kids who were super into manga, anime, and honestly just anything dealing with "Asian culture." They ranged from the types of people who would do cosplay (sometimes borderline cosplay at school), to those kids who didn't pay much mind to their appearance at all-- wearing ill-fitting, solid colored clothing. Y'all know the type. No hate, though. I'm sure my clothes were just as horrible back then too.

At this point, my knowledge of K Pop was extremely limited and really existed solely through any random tidbits of information they happened to mention around me. Names like Girls' Generation and SHINee were familiar terms only in passing. I recognized them, but didn't have anything tangible to relate them to. And honestly, I wasn't really interested in seeking them out. I was one of those "real music is played on guitars" people-- a classical musician on my way to college for music, too into my pop-punk music, and too judgmental of things like hip-hop, rap, and heaven-forbid, POP.

The first time I ever put names to any K Pop faces was, like many people, when the Fine Brothers did a react video. Kids react to K Pop came out in early 2012, my senior year of high school. I was an avid viewer of FBE and was familiar with the term, so I clicked. I re-watched that video recently, and I honestly think that the only long-lasting takeaway from that video was the MV for Gee by Girls' Generation. Years later, when I finally did listen to a K Pop song or two on purpose, Gee was the one, shining, familiar light. Upon re-watch, I was super-surprised to see SuJu & 2NE1 in the video.

After that, I paid basically no mind to K Pop. Fast forward to my freshman year of college. Y'all know what happened in mid-to-late 2012.

(Hongchul is a blessing, y'all.)

I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I was still firmly entrenched in my "pop punk is GOD" mentality, and pop music was just garbage. Especially the pop music that became mega-popular. Even more-so, weird pop music. And even more than that, pop music in a language I couldn't understand. Seriously, I was a judgmental lil' 18 year old. I mean, I think we all still see Gangnam Style as a big ol' joke, but obviously I was pretty judgy. 

Sometime around then, one of my friends tried to get me to listen to K Pop. He knew how I felt about pop music in general, so he gave me some videos that he wanted me to watch. I think that was the first time I'd ever heard of 2NE1. That was his favorite group. I think he might have shown me one of their videos (probably I'm The Best). I think he might've shown me some other videos, but I don't remember them. Sometime around here, I think I watched The Chaser by Infinite. Not to jump forward too much, but when I started to actually get into K Pop, the music video seemed far too familiar. I have no idea how or why I stumbled across it, but I'm almost 99% certain I watched it sometime around its release. 

Anyway, apart from possibly watching the MV for The Chaser, I didn't give K Pop much more thought until the summer of 2013, when The Fine Bros did another K Pop reaction video, this time with YouTubers. This would become a recurring theme on their channel, and given my disinterest in K Pop and my slowly waning interest in FBE, I didn't watch many of these K Pop reactions going forward. But I did watch the first one, which introduced me to Fantastic Baby by Big Bang, I Got a Boy by Girls' Generation, and Lucifer by SHINee. I still wasn't particularly impressed with any of them. Y'all get the gist. I was way too into my own love of pop punk and didn't understand why people loved K Pop so much. 

It's important to note here that I didn't have any sort of legitimate dislike or hatred toward K Pop. Starting from that first year of college, and getting more and more strong constantly, I consider myself to be someone who's very open-minded to art. I may not particularly like some music/art/movies/etc, but I'll defend its validity as a legitimate art form until the bitter end. Everything is art to someone. So, while I personally didn't understand why people wanted to listen to pop music in a language they didn't speak, my mindset was "Cool, more power to you. Just leave me alone to my pop-punk."

And, for the next few years, that's exactly what happened. I didn't really pay attention to K Pop except for when I'd see things in passing. YouTubers I watched would occasionally mention a group. I'd see someone re-tweet an Idol's tweet, etc. It wasn't something I actively avoided, but rather just something that really didn't pop up in my day-to-day life. I was once again vaguely familiar with certain names I'd see popping up. Infinite was one that I saw a lot (which is odd, now that I know how underrated they actually are). BTS popped up quite regularly. G-Dragon. Monsta X. Rap Monster (who I totally thought was a member of Monsta X). BamBam. L. Exo. SNSD. 2NE1 (which I was convinced was a boy group?). Big Bang. That's probably the extent of artists I would've been able to list off to you at about this time last year. Like in high school, names without faces or meaning. 

And then, the life changing show. The Genius, a Korean reality show that has now become my favorite show ever. Which will need a bit of back story. So... hang on. 

There's a podcast that I listen to, Rob Has a Podcast, that covers strategic reality shows like Big Brother and Survivor. Over the years, there were certain personalities on the podcast that I really gravitated toward. Two of the guys I really liked, Alex and Taran, would constantly make brief references to this show called The Genius, which they both really loved. I got curious, but it was never a high priority for me. Then, one day in the summer of 2016, I was looking for podcasts to listen to, and I stumbled across another RHAP episode where the eponymous Rob was given a crash course introduction to The Genius by Myles Nye. I was a little wary of reading subtitles, but the premise had me intrigued. When Myles described it as about as close to The Mole (my FAVORITE TV show at the time) as you could get, I was sold. I watched the first episode almost immediately. I enjoyed it, but given the amount of focus needed to sit and watch the whole episode without doing anything else, I ended up not continuing the show. 

Seemingly, when it comes to Korean entertainment, I need to be introduced to it, take a break from it, and then return to it before I can find a genuine love for it. I didn't watch another episode of The Genius for a solid 6 months after that. And then, Rob released an audiobook, with chapters covering each episode of Season 1 of The Genius. I was on my holiday break from school and was going to be on some long car rides, so I figured I'd go ahead and re-watch the first episode, listen to a preview of the audiobook and see what happened from there.

I was hooked. I re-watched episode 1 and found myself falling in love immediately. I binge-watched the season, binge-listened to the audiobook, and fell completely in love with the other podcasts covering the show. And here's where we get to the K Pop. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, the cast is comprised almost entirely of Korean celebrities. And the biggest name of Season 1, the biggest "get" for the show? Kim Sunggyu, the leader & main vocalist of Infinite. I don't want to spoil the show for those of you who haven't seen, but if you know Sunggyu, you know he was a fun character to watch. For however long he was there. 

So, I got curious. I'd fallen in love with Sunggyu as a character, and I wanted to check out his music to see if I liked it. Guess what happened? I listened, felt kinda meh about it, and then didn't return to it until several months later. The first song I listened to (sometime in January) was Back (now an all-time fave). I also gave The Chaser and The Eye a listen before deciding that they were alright, but not really my thing. 

To be honest, I'm not really sure what sparked the second wave of Infinite curiosity. It might have been a resurgence of excitement about The Genius, or maybe just an interest in the Korean language. But, either way, at the beginning of May 2017... I got obsessed. I re-listened to Back and found that I really loved it. Some of the first things I watched of theirs weren't even music videos, but rather episodes of them on Weekly Idol and Ranking King. I fell in love with them as people, and subsequently fell in love with their music.

At this point, I was still kinda in the mindset that Infinite was an anomaly in my music taste. Not that I was dis-interested in other K Pop, but rather that I just probably wasn't going to seek more out apart from Infinite. 

And then, around mid-June, I felt like I was being absolutely suffocated by one group, and finally decided to check them out. Surprisingly, it wasn't BTS. It was Got7. Every time I watched an Infinite video, there were 2-3 Got7 videos just hanging out in the recommended sidebar, begging for me to click. Finally, I did. Like most people, Jackson was the first one who stood out to me. He was loud and crazy, running all over the Weekly Idol set and screaming his lil head off. Definitely not my cup of tea. (Little did I know that he'd become one of my Got7 biases & I'd be constantly worried about that lil fluffball cutie's health.) I watched their Never Ever MV, and thought it was alright. I watched their Just Right MV, and liked it more than Never Ever, but wasn't sold. I ended up deciding that they were alright, but not my thing.

I think y'all have figured out how this story goes by now, right? About a month later, while watching Infinite line distribution videos, someone mentioned that Hard Carry by Got7 had a good line distribution. I was curious and decided to listen... and I liked what I heard. I ended up watching a few more of their videos, before coming across the one that absolutely sold me. Still, my favorite K Pop song to this day.


Something about the song just clicked. It seemed so oddly satisfying for some reason, especially when combined with their rhythmic footwork. I was in love. And of course, I spiraled from there, watching dance practices, watching their appearances on variety shows, watching clip videos, everything. I fell in love. But I wasn't quite to the point where I considered myself a K Pop fan. I wasn't really venturing outside my two groups.

That's when I discovered K Pop quizzes on YouTube. I'm a sucker for things like "guess the song"/ "guess the member"/etc, and given that I now had 2 groups under my belt, I figured I at least had a little bit of knowledge to attempt a couple of them. Predictably, I failed horribly. But, as I watched more of these videos, I started hearing choruses that sounded intriguing. I found myself looking up some of the songs I was hearing over and over again in these videos, and soon had a playlist of K Pop MVs to watch. 

I was now to the point where I was finally dipping my toes into multiple different groups, rather than going full-force into one at a time and not considering myself a K Pop fan. First came EXO, then Big Bang, then Block B, then Super Junior, then BlackPink, then Seventeen, then BTS and a whole slew of other random groups. A couple songs here and there from each artist. I consumed more and more and more and more, finally embracing my status as a full-blown K Pop stan. And, of course, more recently I've fallen head over heels in love with my Day6 babies, who I'm literally obsessed with. So, yeah, super long build-up of seeing K Pop for years, before having it all come to a head within about 2 months' time. And I'm so, so glad to have found it and there's no way I'm looking back. I love my K Pop, and I love it more and more every single day. Also, that last sentence was cheesy and I've been rambling for way too long, so it's time to stop. 

So, that's my story of how I got into K Pop! I'm sure it was way too long-winded, but hello and welcome to my brain. You must be new here. I talk too much. Except in person, where I barely talk at all. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my rambling nonetheless! Let me know if there are any K Pop-related videos or posts you'd like to see in the future, because I'm always trying to figure out new ideas for things to do!

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top 10 Songs September 2017

I'm back once again to talk about the songs that I've had on constant repeat all month long! Last month, almost every song was by the same two groups, and while this month isn't quite as monotonous, I fell head over heels in love with a new group in September and half the list is taken up by their songs. I'm not going to apologize though, because they're actually fantastic and if you haven't heard of them, you should be thanking me for introducing them to you in this post.

This month, I found myself listening mostly to new music by groups I already loved, plus music by the new group I've fallen in love with, so all groups (except the new obsession) have actually already appeared on one of these lists in some form or fashion. 

Last note before jumping into the list-- per usual, I'm still listening to all the songs from last month. My listening always tapers off eventually, but if I love them enough for them to make this list, they're going to stay on a pretty decent loop for quite a while. But these are the new ones that have stolen my heart. I've left the new group until last, with my favorite song by them at the very end (y'all know this is how it works at this point, right? Save the best for last, right?) And with that, let's jump into my Top 10 Songs of September 2017.

DNA by Infinite

I mentioned this on another post, but unfortunately due to Japanese copyright being super strict, there's not a studio version of the Japanese (aka original) version on YouTube. The MV is out there, but not in a place that's easy to link here. So I have to embed a live performance of the Korean version. Apologies.

Anyway, I'm honestly kinda mad at myself for sleeping on Infinite's Japanese singles. I'd listened to one or two a while back, but given that they were hard to find and harder to download, I largely disregarded them for quite a while and THAT WAS A MISTAKE, because a couple of their Japanese singles have become some of my favorite Infinite songs ever. The first time I listened to DNA, I was in love. Infinite explores a really different sound in this song, combining the more EDM sound that they explored in Bad with some typical Infinite rock-esque elements to create this really unique song. It's super cool, and I found myself listening to it all month long.

Dilemma by Infinite

I actually first listened to Dilemma forever ago, and upon listening through all of Infinite's singles, I re-discovered my love for the song. I'd always thought that it was one of their more interesting tracks, but this month was when I really got obsessed with it. Like with DNA, it took the distinct "Infinite" sound and fused it with something else-- this time, rock instrumentation. I've come to realize that Infinite definitely leans a lot more toward rock than most KPop groups. I'd never classify them as a rock group by any means, but they use electric guitars and heavy percussion a lot more frequently than most groups, and it's especially heavy in Dilemma. There's literally a huge instrumental break in the song that basically just serves as a guitar solo. It's awesome. And the music video is cool as well-- it's entirely in greyscale, and the choreo is super cool. I just absolutely love this song and I've been listening to it all month.

No More Dream by BTS

I haven't listened to as much new BTS as I did last month, but I did definitely listen to more and this was one of the stand-outs. I think I actually downloaded No More Dream right at the beginning of September, so it's been a consistent fave all month. It's their debut single, and although the music video is super cheesy, the song itself is really cool and heavily features my favorite member, Rap Monster. His recurring "hey, what's your dream," is my favorite line in the song, and the chorus is just so good. It's really heavy on the rapping/ hip hop, which is still really prominent in their music today, but even more so in No More Dream. It's definitely gotten a ton of play this month. 

Boy in Luv by BTS

I like all of the other BTS songs I've downloaded and listened to this month, but this is definitely the other one that I've listened to almost daily. I think the thing with this one is that every single section of the song is super interesting and such a jam. My favorite thing about the song is how well it works with Tae's voice. For some reason, I'm always surprised at how gravelly is voice is, and it just works perfectly with Boy in Luv. 

Magnetic by Got7

This isn't so much a new discovery in September as it is a new-found appreciation. I've definitely never disliked Magnetic, but for some reason it'd never been one I'd really gravitated toward or listened to very much. But after re-watching the video embedded above, I realized how much I actually really love the song. There are a lot of reasons why I love it, but I think #1 is that Jinyoung sounds fantastic on it. I mean, his voice always sounds great, but his voice just works particularly well on this one. Also, the chorus is super catchy. JB's part kills me every time. 

The Day6 Section

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, half of the songs on this list are by the same band, and that is (obviously) Day6. I'm honestly really, really mad at myself for taking this long to get into them. Day6 is a band (yes, a band-- they play instruments) that I've been aware of since I first started listening to KPop. They've always been on my radar as someone I should check out, because my long-standing favorite genre of music has always been pop punk/alternative, and Day6 is this great hybrid of pop punk and KPop. I kept telling myself I needed to listen to them, because I KNEW I would love them, but for some reason I just kept not doing it. 

Finally, one day in early September I sat down and watched a few of their music videos and I fell in love. And then I watched random videos of them just being their silly selves and I got completely obsessed. And then I discovered that Brian Kang is basically a perfect human and he quickly rose directly to the top of my bias list, alongside my other ults. Because I can't just have one ultimate bias-- my brain doesn't work that way. 

Anyway, I've had all of their music on a constant loop for the majority of the month, so it was almost impossible to narrow this list down to 5 songs. I wouldn't be surprised if the entirety of my October list was just made up of Day6 songs. That's how much I've fallen in love with them. (On that note, like with JJP's Verse 2, Day6's EveryDay6 October was released right at the end of the month, so I'm not counting it for this month. It might pop up next month, though!) Anyway, let's just go ahead and jump into the songs.  

I Wait by Day6

The first song released in their EveryDay6 project, I Wait is simply... beautiful. But all of their songs are, TBH. Like with most groups with multiple vocalists, I associate each song strongly with one of the members. This, my friends, is a Jae song. When I think of this song, the first thing I think of is Jae's verses, with his scooping vocals and the amazing visuals in the MV. But even then, Sungjin's vocals on the chorus are gravelly perfection. TBH, I was SUPER torn on whether to include I Wait or How Can I Say on this list, but I ended up going with this one. Originally, I had both but I swapped one out because I feel like they're the most similar of the Day6 songs I was considering. That being said, I love both of them pretty equally and they're definitely among Day6's best songs. Seriously, you have no idea how hard it was to narrow this list down to only 5 Day6 songs. They're literal perfection.

I'm Serious by Day6

I'm serious is honestly anything but serious. It's fun, it's cute, and it's an absolute bop. I keep trying to figure out how to talk about this, but it's difficult because Day6 just is so good at creating songs with an incredible diversity of sounds and so it's hard to say that this is "out of the ordinary" for them. Because really, what's ordinary for them? Either way, this is definitely a bit of a diversion for them as a group. Musically, it's a lot more laid back and acoustic than their many electric guitar-heavy tracks that I usually consider to be most emblematic of them as a group. I also love when the instruments drop out and we get a bit of a Beach Boys-esque acapella section, complete with snapping. It's just so good and I love it.

Blood by Day6

Originally, Blood just barely missed out on the list, but I kept feeling like it deserved to be on here, so here it is. This is probably (don't quote me here) Day6's best non-title track. Like I said when talking about I Wait, I associate songs with specific members. And one of the reasons I love Blood is that it's a Brian song. It's 100% a Brian song. First of all, he gets the chorus (mostly) and his falsetto is freakin' gorgeous. Seriously, his voice sounds fantastic on the chorus. And then on top of that, I'd probably say that Brian's rap in Blood is my favorite of any of his raps across Day6's entire discography. Blood just really showcases how broad Brian's skill is-- the guy is seriously good at everything. I absolutely love the music of this song. It's pretty chill and laid laid back, even as it crescendos into the chorus, and the instrumentation is pretty sparse and just... ugh. SO GOOD. 

Dance Dance by Day6

I can't remember which Day6 song was the first that I listened to, but this was definitely the first one that I fell in love with. It's just so much fun. As they've said, it isn't the most musically complex of their songs, but they wrote it to just be a fun bop to jam out to, and it's definitely that. That especially shows in the music video, where they're clearly having so much fun just being their weird, silly selves. This song is possibly the epitome of music that I fall in love with quickly. It's pop rock perfection, and the reggae-esque 2nd verse is just the cherry on top.  

Congratulations by Day6

And finally, we come to the last song on the list, which (per usual) is the one that's been most constantly on repeat. It was Day6's debut song, back when the number of members actually matched the name of the band, and overall Congratulations is just an absolute jam. It starts out super chill, with Jae's soft vocals, and it just builds more and more to this just incredibly bitter and emo 'congratulatory' chorus. Like with some other songs on this list, I consider this one to be a Brian song (I know, I'm horribly biased). His vocals absolutely shine on the chorus, and his rap is just so cutting and fantastic. The little growl he does at the end of his rap verse is possibly my favorite part of the entire song. It's just such a fantastic song, such a fantastic debut, and I've obviously fallen completely head-over-heels in love with this band. 

Very quickly, before I wrap this up, I want to touch on where I thought I'd be last month, versus where I actually currently am. AKA did I fall more in love with a group than I thought I would? Did I listen to a group less than I thought I would? Stuff like that. Last month, I thought I would be obsessed with BTS by this point, and while I definitely have fallen more and more in love with them, I wouldn't necessarily consider them right up there with Infinite, Got7, or even Day6. However, they are right behind those 3 groups and I definitely see myself listening to them more over the next month and getting more into them as a group. At the very least, I've really gotten to know (and love) the members of BTS more than I did at this point last month. The Day6 obsession didn't quite come completely out of nowhere (bc like I said, I'd been meaning to listen to them), but I never expected to fall as much in love with them as I actually did. Or as quickly as I did. I swear, I went from "oh, these guys are kinda cool" to full-on screaming, fangirling obsession in literally 2 days. 

So, those are my top 10 songs of September! I've already got a playlist going for October with the new EveryDay6 single (seriously, check both songs out) and the new Got7 7 For 7 mini album comes out this month, so there should be a lot of great stuff on the next one of these as well.  

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Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See you soon!