Nov 6, 2014

Of Sub-units and Solos Pt. 2

If your favorite group isn't announcing an upcoming debut of a sub-unit, and let's face it, they are, it's highly likely that they will announce an solo debut instead. Recently there has been a flooding of new solists, from Taemin, Secret and T-Ara to the forever underrated Zhoumi getting his own album. Due to this I though I might take a look at some of Kpop's more memorable solo acts as of yet.

[I know this post is way overdue, since the first part was posted way back in March, but better late than never I suppose!]

The ones where everyone gets a solo!

There's really no way getting around not mentioning G-Dragon, because he is without a doubt the most successful solo act right now. His first solo album was released back in 2009, and since then he has become at least as popular as his group Big Bang. He outsells everyone and everything, and is also a highly respected songwriter and producer as well as a fashion icon. I don't always love him, but I do think he is incredibly talented and has some great songs too.

All the other members of Big Bang have released solo material too, and I think it's interesting how they can actually make it all work because they can feel so disconnected at times. It's been 2 years now since they had a group comeback, and with so much focus on individual activities it's astonishing how their good their teamwork still is. T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri all had solo releases last year, but like one would expect, leader Jiyong is the most successful.

Fellow YG group 2ne1 has also had some solo releases through the years. In 2010 the group took a short-lived hiatus and the members released solo singles, but it was more like a group project rather than actual solo debuts. Dara released Kiss, Park Bom released my personal favorite "You and I" and CL and Minzy had a collaboration. Of course, CL later made an official solo debut with "The Baddest Female" which is a story I would like to forget, and now we're all waiting for Minzy's time to shine in the spotlight.

The now partly split up Kara had a similar project not too long ago, where all of the members had their own single and got to perform them on music shows as well. They also weren't actual solo debuts, but a gift for the fans presented in a special album called Kara Collection. I have to say, all of the singles were pretty good, but they were all really different as well. My favorite out the bunch was Jiyoung's "Wanna Do" and Seungyeon's "Guilty", but I seriously recommend listening to all of them to discover your favorite.

The girls that rock it on their own

Continuing on with the girls, there are three people who immediately spring to mind whilst talking about solo debuts. I think everyone can agree that Hyuna is worth a mention, and while her singing skills are questionable, there's no doubt she kills it on stage. Her solo debut back in 2010 was quite provocative, especially since she wasn't even 18 at the time (internationally), but her image has changed slightly over the years. "Bubble Pop" is still amazing, and I just love the video and concept.

Sistar's main vocalist and front figure Hyorin recently had her much anticipated solo debut last year, and did great, just as expected. Her voice is no joke, and she completely owns the stage with her confidence, sexiness and charisma. On top of that, she's quite a triple threat too (meaning she can both sing, dance and rap well). I'll admit, the title track  didn't manage to win me over, but the rest of the album was great. I'm really happy "Lonely" has its own video, because it's literally perfect.

The not-so-young maknae of Brown Eyed Girls has experienced one hell of a solo career. I mean, she even got to feature in Psy's video as his next "muse". Most people know Gain whether or not they now the group she originates from (although most people do that too), and she always creates headlines with her provocative videos.

The boys get to perform alone too!

As much as female soloists are rejoiced all over the world, it wouldn't be fair not to have any guys rock it out on their own. While everyone in Big Bang has had their time in the spotlight, not many other male groups send one of their members off on their own. Even super-established acts like Super Junior and TVXQ hasn't had any solo ventures, and it's only recently that SM has begun pumping out male soloists. First there was Henry, who impressed me with "Trap", a well-produced pop song with an infectious melody.

The ever so popular Beast members are successful in all their solo acts, such as Dojoon and Kikwang's stunts on variety shows and dramas and Hyunseung's Troublemaker. While Kikwang might have started out as a solo artist, it's Junhyung and Yoseob who have made it big as solo performers. While I like both of their title tracks, "Caffeine" is probably my favorite, a lot thanks to the lovely vocals.

Not long after I first got into K-pop, Infinite's leader Sunggyu made his solo debut with "60 Seconds". He wasn't entirely my bias by then but the release of his album "Another Me" certainly pushed me in the right direction. The title track wasn't my favorite, but it's still a pretty good song although as much as I like L I'm upset the main man himself didn't feature more in the video.

It seems that the solo projects are not getting less popular as time goes by, but are rather inclining, especially from SM's side. Everything to steer away from the shit storm that's currently happening. What are some of your favorite solo artists?

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