Sep 30, 2014

OT9 Is No More: Jessica Leaves Girls' Generation

I think these recent events confirm that 2014 is probably SM's worst year ever. When I first read the text posted on SNSD member Jessica's Weibo, I thought she had been hacked. There was no way what she stated about being "forced out" of the group could be true, I mean they all renewed their contracts only weeks ago so for her to suddenly get kicked out made no sense. Now that it's actually confirmed that she will no longer participate in group activities I still think that it makes no sense, and I believe that SM is making a huge mistake by doing so.

Apparently Jessica made a request to halt her promotions with the group after their next album, meaning she would stick around for one more release and then leave to focus on her individual career. SM on the other hand were not having it, probably finding her proposal unreasonable and are instead making her leave right here right now. The words posted on Jessica's behalf are hurt and disappointed, and reading those certainly didn't make it seem like she wanted to leave the group anytime soon, but had to because she couldn't compromise with her agency. I do see a big problem with thie issue in general, and I think that if Jessica wanted to leave after the next promotional round she shouldn't have signed the contract at all. I'm not sure if letting her go now is the solution either though, but I do know that SNSD will take a huge blow to their image and loose a lot of fans. 

I don't necessarily blame Jessica, or any other of the members, for focusing on their careers outside of SNSD because the idol life is only so long, and most of us knew that they've already entered the final stages of group activities. As news of the renewal of their contract for another 3 years came out, the overall feeling was that it would be over when those years had passed, as the girls would be in their mid- to late twenties and have established personal careers and lives by then. My assumption is that Jessica wanted to combine her singing career with her fashion career, and SM wasn't going to let that happen simultaneously. Instead they've kicked her out of the group because that's the only solution they could reach, which is frustrating for everyone except the agency itself since Jessica is still signed to them but as an individual. 

My honest opinion is that if they weren't going to let her participate as she wanted to they should have terminated the contract entirely. As the situation is now, she's still with SM but isn't allowed to be a part of the group, and that must feel terrible since that probably wasn't her original plan. This entire situation is chaotic and messy and I believe SM have really screwed things up this time around. I can for sure say that I wouldn't be surprised if the whole group announced their disbandment anytime soon, because the end feels scarily near. 

Sep 29, 2014

Glorious Photo Shoots: September Round Up

BoA - Cosmopolitan Magazine September Issue ‘14

BoA's "Cosmopolitan" photo shoot opens this truly glorious September pictorial collection, and how this month has blessed us with beauty and inspiration.

Sep 28, 2014

Song of the Week #27

Winner - Missing You (2NE1 Acoustic Cover)

I've been listening to this song a lot this past week, especially this particular cover performed on "Yoo Hee Yeol's Sketchbook". Their live vocals sound amazing, and although the rap portions could have done without I still don't think it sounds too misplaced. Seungyoon is spectacular as usual, Taehyun sounds fantastic singing in this range and even Jinwoo who I'm often skeptical about impresses me. This cover only reassures me I've definitely found a new bias group.

Sep 22, 2014

BTS' First Album is "Dark & Wild"

The boys are certainly back in town, as hip hop group BTS continue on their rise to the top with the release of their first full length album. Prior to this, they have managed to put out 3 mini albums, two of which had 10 tracks, which is a lot for a mini album. It's fair to say then that this group is bursting with musicality and creativity, and I had a lot of anticipation for this release as I've grown to expect a lot from this 7-member group. 

Sep 21, 2014

Song of the Week - #26

Girls' Generation - Trick

One of the better songs to come out of their "The Boys" album, if not the best. It has a sound that's more in tune with a lot of their Japanese songs, which is what I find more enjoyable, so this song was an instant like for me.

Sep 20, 2014

Eye Candy Saturday - Junho

2PM are back and the boys are currently killing it on the live shows with their crazy, energetic performances. All of them are obviously good-looking, but Junho in particular really caught my attention since last year, and I started to look out for him a bit more. He's unfortunately had a forgettable position in the group because he isn't the most traditionally attractive person and has a personality that's more on the quiet side, but his talents are outstanding.

Sep 14, 2014

Song of the Week - #25

CNBlue - Monster

I didn't even know of this song up until a couple of days ago, and now I can't stop replaying it. It's funny how I say I generally like Yonghwa's compositions better, but still it's Jonghyun that's written all my absolute favorite songs ("Eclipse", "Blind Love" etc.) and that includes this one either. If the lyrics in this video are correct and it's actually all sung in English I'm kind of shocked because I never would have been able to tell otherwise. Bad pronunciation aside, this song is really beautiful and has that effect that very few songs have, it touches your heart in a genuine way.

Sep 12, 2014

2PM Literally "Go Crazy!" In The Best Possible Way For Their Awaited Comeback

2PM - Go Crazy

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with 2PM, because while I love them as people and as a group, their music can be very "hit or miss". Granted, their music has always been catchy and easy to sing and jam along to, but some of it has been quite bad as well. Their 2013 comeback with double title tracks "A.D.T.O.Y" and "Come Back When You Hear This Song" failed to shoot them back to stardom after a two year hiatus, which is hard to understand if you've seen this, they've opted for a different style this time around. Throw that sexy, grown image out of the window, a new and improved 2PM has come out to play.

Sep 10, 2014

Korea's Next Top Model Cycle 5: Episode 1-3 Recap

Guys, I have a confession to make...I love model competitions. I have watched pretty much every cycle of "America's Next Top Model" that have come out, and even though the latest few have been kind of terrible it's still a guilty pleasure of mine. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a model, but I realized quickly I didn't have much going for me in the height and weight department. I knew there was a Korean version of the infamous show, but there weren't (as I'm aware of) any English subtitles so I didn't have the chance to watch it.

For the fifth cycle of the show subtitles have been provided by Yubisubs, which I'm very thankful for as this particular season is the first one to feature male models as well. I'm always out on the look for more eye-candy, so this was a perfect opportunity both to watch my favorite show format and drool over hot Korean guys all at the same time.

Sep 7, 2014

Ladies' Code Loses Another Member

Yet another morning I have woken up to the dreadful news of another passing. Fighting for her life for four days, going through 10 hours of surgery due to a severe injury to her head, Ladies' Code member RiSe has joined EunB in heaven, as she's no longer with us. I suppose it's not as shocking considering she had been unconscious ever since the time of the car crash, and her condition was critical and unstable, but it's still horrible to think that we have lost another smiling angel.

My thoughts go out to all the people involved, family members, staff workers, the hard-working doctors and surgeons and of course the three remaining members.

EunB and RiSe, I hope you're in a better place now where there's no pain, and continue watching over your loved ones as long as they live.

Sep 6, 2014

Eye Candy Saturday - Hyeri

As Girl's Day's youngest member Hyeri finally is receiving some love from the Korean public thanks to her appearance on "Real Men", long time fans like myself can only pat ourselves on the back with a smirk on our faces as we say: I knew she was my bias for a good reason". At first I didn't really like Hyeri that much, but as I've got to know her a bit better and see her wonderful personality, there was no denial she was right up there with Yura and Sojin on my bias list.

Sep 3, 2014

As 2014 Continues to F**k Us Over...

Let's Summarize, shall we?

Not only did South Korea experience one of their biggest tragedies ever with the Sewol Ferry Accident that took the life of approximately 300 people, many of whom where students, but the entertainment industry has been crazy as of lately. Famous singers and actors such as Sulli, Kris, Park Bom, Kim Hyun Joong, Han Hyo Joo, Song Hye Kyo, Kim Soo Hyun/Jeon Ji Hyun, Lee Byung Hun/Dahee have brought to us the biggest scandals this year, and no small ones either. There have been tax evasions, contract terminations, blackmailing, drug-smuggling and domestic abuse, and then there are all the dating "scandals" too, which aren't really that big of a deal but there's been so many other this year that it's still worth bringing up. People are loosing their minds everywhere and I understand them, as it seems every day something new pops up that scatters the illusions we have of our favorite stars. SM has had a rough year, there's no denying that, but YG isn't too far behind either. Both labels need to sort out their PR teams immediately because their work this year has been nothing less but awful. 

Another topic that's been brought to life is the invasion of former "Iljin's", a term usually referring to rebellious and irresponsible adolescents that spend their time smoking, drinking, ditching school and treating their peers badly. I can see why all of this is controversial in Korea, but I think that as long as you're a kind person, what you do with your studies and spare time is none of my interest. However, with new names such as Winner's Taehyun and Park Bo Ram being exposed as former "iljin's" and bullying in general has become a hotter topic due to young soldiers in the army committing suicide because of it, the term has once again arisen to the surface. As South Korea is statistically one of the leading countries in numbers of suicide I think it's about time the topic is being discussed more openly, but I hate how it had to go this far for it to do so. It's never a comfortable subject, but it's extremely important and it's essential that the issue of bullying has to stop. 

What threw me off completely though, was when I woke up to the news of an idol death. I still have a hard time processing what has happened because it all seems just a bit too surreal, but there's no way escaping the truth. Ladies' Code member EunB passed away early this morning in a severe car crash, and the rest of the people in the vehicle were taken directly to the hospital. I literally stared at my computer screen with my mouth wide open for a good 5 minutes or so when I first read it, and I could feel the tears forming behind my eyes as one of my worst nightmares came true. I knew something like this could happen because these incidents are far more common than they should be, but I never thought it actually would. It's all very strange how I was jamming along to "Kiss Kiss" only to find out later that one of the members no longer lives.

My deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and colleagues, as I can't imagine what they must be going through right now, and I'm sending all my thoughts to RiSe and Sojung, whose conditions are still critical.

What scares me the most is that it could have been anyone that lost their life. With car accidents being as common as they are unfortunately, it's almost miraculous that these kind of tragedies don't occur more frequently. I still remember Secret's accident a while back resulting in member Hana being absent for several months, as well as my bias Jonghyun's one leaving him with a broken nose. Most K-pop fans are also familiar with Super Junior's big car accident many years ago, and member Kyuhyun in particular received the most injuries and were at one point given only a 20% chance of surviving. In the end, he recovered but it was a terrifying time for all parties involved. If you think about it, basically every idol group has been involved in some car accident, big or small, and that's absolutely mental. There's nothing more worrying to me than seeing an entire group being squashed together in a van and not knowing if they'll get to their destination safely. The fact that not wearing seat-belts in the back seat is normal tells a lot about how much the general traffic safety in Korea is lacking. Does a person have to die like this before changes are made?

It's fair to say 2014 has been a pretty scandalous year so far, but with these recent events it almost feels like the bottom has been reached. Hopefully things will get better from here, and I sincerely wish for no more injuries or any other kind of hurtful news. 

Sep 1, 2014

Taemin VS BTS - Who Is More Dangerous?

Tae Min - AceBangtan Boys - Dark & Wild

I don't know about you guys, but I certainly wasn't expecting Taemin to be the first member of SHINee to go solo. Yes, SM has been pushing and promoting him like crazy, but I personally never thought of him as solo material. He is, however, an excellent dancer so I knew I was going to get a great performance that thank goodness wasn't choreographed by Tony Testa.  BTS, on the other hand, did not surprise me by announcing their second comeback this year and release of their first full album. This group is really talented and impress both as artists and performers. The teaser photos did not excite me very much however, as I found them a bit generic and unoriginal. It wasn't something I hadn't seen before, and it wasn't a concept unlike what they've done before either.

So with that in mind, I did not anticipate any of these comebacks as much as I probably should have considering I love both acts dearly, but I still had hopes that they would pleasantly surprise me by being nothing short but amazing. Let's find out how well they did, shall we?