#whatshouldwecallsuperjunior (part 4)

When my friend makes a really bad pun:

 

When I see a guy wearing capris:

 

When I wake up 10 minutes before class starts and still make it on time:

 

When I show up to class wearing sweatpants:

 

When I score above the average on an exam:

 

When I score an A on an exam… without the curve:

 

When someone invades my personal space:

 

When the person in front of me is walking really slowly:

 

When I meet a fellow K-pop fan:

 

When my friends ask me if I want to get frozen yogurt with them:

 

When my school’s team beats my rival school’s team:

 

When I bring in groceries from the car:

 

When I find out that Super Junior is not coming to the U.S. for their Super Show 4 tour:

 

When my friend is having a bad day:

 

When I order a K-pop album online and it finally comes in the mail:

 

*NOTE* gifs are not mine! credit goes to the original makers of the gifs.

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K-pop Update: The SM Edition!

Greetings, fellow apopaholics! In this post, I’m going to talk about some of the recent releases from Super Junior, EXO-K, and SNSD. In case you didn’t know, all three of these artists are under the SM Entertainment label, hence the title of this post! haha.

First up, Super Junior released a short version of their music video for their Japanese single “Opera” last week. The single will officially drop next week on May 9th (hopefully with a full version of the MV)! For this single, they’re releasing 9 different covers with one of the members on the front of each, much like they did with their 5th album Mr. Simple, which was released last year. They seem to be going for a masquerade-type theme with the dark, mysterious, Phantom-of-the-Opera-like setting and, of course, the masks. I think it totally works for them and is one of the better concepts that they’ve had in a while! The MV also seems to be really well-done, with a nice blend of close-up shots and dance shots. Also, I really like their wardrobe in this MV, and for once, no one has a questionable hairstyle or is wearing anything that is of questionable fashion. Everyone looks great, especially Ryeowook! (On that note, please disregard the following paragraph.)

<fangirl spazz> OMG, let me take a moment to say that WOOKIE, MY ULTIMATE K-POP BIAS, LOOKS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING IN THIS MV!!!!! And he has more than 5 seconds of screen time!!! And he’s dancing in the front and center!!!! And oh. my. gosh. he looks SOOO good in white!!! ❤ ahhhhh!!! Replaying his parts forever!!!! </fangirl spazz>. Ahem. Anyways.

Check out the short MV here (I’ll probably post again if/when they release the full version of the MV):

 

Another recent development: Kibum, the lost sheep of the group, is starring in a new K-drama called “I Love Italy,” which will start airing at the end of this month (May 28th). In the drama, Kibum will play a 14-year-old boy who wakes up one day in the body of a 25-year-old (a la Tom Hanks in “Big”) and falls in love with an heiress named Lee Taeri (or Italy? I’m not sure). Needless to say, this teaser has me really looking forward to the drama. 😉

 

One more Super Junior-related comment: as of this week, Super Junior has held the #1 spot on the Taiwanese KKBOX album charts for 100 consecutive weeks! Bonamana, their 4th album, held the #1 spot for 63 weeks, at which point it was replaced by Mr. Simple, their 5th album, which has held the #1 spot for 37 weeks (and counting). Wow (fantastic baby), that’s almost 2 whole years. Pretty impressive. Nice job, guys! 😀

Okay, onto the next piece of news. EXO, the brand-new boy band from SM, debuted last month with their first mini-album MAMA. So, if you’ve kept up with K-pop at all in the past few months, you’d know that they’ve been releasing teasers for EXO starting in December of last year, with a total of 23 teasers released. Holy moly. I think that their teasers actually had the opposite effect for me: instead of getting me pumped up about their debut, with every teaser I felt more “meh” and indifferent, and I eventually stopped watching the teasers altogether. So, leading up to their debut, the cynical K-pop fan in me was thinking that they were too hyped up and were probably not going to live up to expectations. However, that said, when EXO finally did debut with their title song “MAMA,” (I’m not counting their “prologue singles” as their debut…), I was surprised to find that I actually really liked them (their music and also them as a band). Since EXO-K is the subgroup that promotes in Korea and performs on all the Korean music shows, I’ve seen more of them and thus feel a bit more biased towards them. But EXO-M is also really cool – just give me time to watch more of their performances and stuff. 😛

While their live performances are far from perfect, and they have a long way to go in terms of stage presence and balancing live singing and dancing, I think that they are doing a really good job as a rookie group. I dunno, there’s just something kind of charming about them that makes me like them. One of the bones I have to pick with them, though, is that they seem to be marketing themselves as “Kai Featuring the Other Members of EXO-K.” Don’t get me wrong, Kai is a super-talented dancer and all, and I like him just as much as the other members, but if you watch their performances, Kai gets like 60% of the screen time while some of the other members only get like 2% of the screen time, which is a bit biased in my opinion.

Anyways, in terms of their mini-album, my favorite song is the title track “MAMA,” which is another song composed by the SM song-writing juggernaut Yoo Young-jin, who also wrote other SM artist hits like “Sorry, Sorry,” “Bonamana,” “Mr. Simple,” “Lucifer,” and “Ring Ding Dong.” “MAMA” has an interesting twist to it, with its pseudo-Gregorian chants and orchestral background music, and after listening to it a few times, it totally got stuck in my head. I also really like “What Is Love” (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more… jk, not that one), which shows off the vocal talents of lead singers D.O. and Baekhyun. The simple beat complements their voices really well, and this song also got stuck in my head for a while (surprise, it was composed by none other than our friend Yoo Young-jin). Check out the other songs on the mini-album too; all of them are legit: History, Angel, Two Moons, and Machine.

Check out the MVs for “MAMA” (both Korean and Chinese versions) below. Note: the first 1:25 of both MVs is some kind of strange intro for the band… at first I was excited that it was in English and that I could understand it, but then I realized that it was just a bunch of epic-sounding words and phrases strung together to make it sound like it should make sense but ultimately doesn’t. If I were you, I would skip straight to 1:25… because that is a gibberish-filled minute and 25 seconds of your life that you will never get back. Just sayin’.

 

Alrighty, last up is SNSD with a mini-album release from their newly-formed subunit TaeTiSeo. As the name suggests, the subunit is made up of members Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun. The mini-album is called Twinkle, and it was released digitally yesterday (the physical album will drop tomorrow). To be honest, I don’t really follow SNSD very much (well, I listen to their title songs, but I don’t really follow anything else that they do), but I started listening to this mini-album when I saw that it was ranked #5 on the iTunes store top albums, which is really impressive for a K-pop band if you ask me. I actually really like some of the songs on this mini-album; my favorites are the title track “Twinkle,” “Baby Steps,” and “Library.” Honorable mentions go to “Goodbye, Hello” and “Love Sick.” “Library” and “Goodbye Hello” are fun, mid-tempo songs, while “Baby Steps” and “Love Sick” are both R&B, ballad-type songs. In “Library,” the lyrics compare their love interest to a library (which is not an analogy that you see very often…) and sprinkle some library vocabulary (such as “dictionary,” “underline,” and “bookmark”) here and there, which is pretty funny. For some reason, I find this song to be really catchy and addictive; I guess I have a new anthem to sing whenever I head over to the library to study, haha. 😛 “Twinkle” is really upbeat and has a funky 70s/80s kind of feel. I dig it. I think that the production work on “Twinkle” (and the rest of the tracks for that matter) is really good; it sounds like they put a lot of work into the background music of the tracks. The MV for “Twinkle” is fun and colorful and, as an added bonus, also features cameos of some of the EXO-K members. Check it out here:

 

And here’s “Library” (no official MV for this song):

 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and have a great, K-pop-filled day! 😀

#whatshouldwecallsuperjunior (part 3)

When my favorite song comes on:

 

When I get to the bus stop and the bus hasn’t left yet:

 

When I attempt to cook:

 

When I want to get a sandwich from Subway’s but they’re out of honey oat bread:

 

Dancing at a club-

Expectation:

Reality:

 

Trying to look seductive-

Expectation:

Reality:

 

When the dryer actually dries my clothes:

 

*NOTE* gifs are not mine! credit goes to the original makers of the gifs.

#whatshouldwecallsuperjunior (part 2)

When Super Junior comes out with a new MV:

 

When EXO comes out with another teaser:

 

When English subs come out for the currently-airing drama that I’m following:

 

When my favorite member gets a lot of screen time in a performance/show:

 

When I listen to a song from new K-pop band and actually really like it:

 

When people post fancams/pictures from my favorite band’s concert:

 

*NOTE* gifs are not mine! credit goes to the original makers of the gifs.

#whatshouldwecallsuperjunior

When my professor cancels the last day of class:

 

When I zone out in class and the professor calls on me:

 

When the professor calls on me and I make a comment that’s not completely stupid:

 

When my professor assigns 50 pages of readings for the next class:

 

When I’m late to class and everyone turns around when they hear the classroom door open:

 

As a second semester senior, while everyone else is studying for finals, I’m just like:

 

When I finally turn in my thesis:

 

*NOTE* gifs are not mine! credit goes to the original makers of the gifs.

Mando-pop Crash Course – Male Soloists Edition!

Hello lovely readers! It’s been way too long since I’ve felt this much freedom from academic life! To celebrate, I decided to introduce you guys to some great mandarin pop (mando-pop) singers that I’ve been listening to when I got tired of k-pop (gasp! blasphemy, I know) while laboring on my thesis for the past few weeks. In general, mando-pop tends to be more ballads-heavy than k-pop, which favors fast tempo, dance tracks as its main attractions. People who are somewhat familiar with mando-pop have probably heard of Jay Chou, Leehom Wang, J.J. Lin, David Tao, and the likes. But today I want to introduce some lesser known singers. Here’s a few of my favorite male soloists hailing from all corners of the Mandarin speaking world:

1. Jacky Xue (薛之谦)

This track titled “Serious Snow (认真的雪)” from this Shanghainese singer’s first album back in 2006 is his most well known work. Written and composed by Jacky himself, this song expresses the sorrow he felt after ending a relationship. I especially love the part where he sings about how it snowed in Shanghai for the first time in more than ten years when he broke up with her. (已经十几年没下雪的上海 突然飘雪 就在你说了分手的瞬间). The MV’s beautifully done as well. Even though I’ve never seen it snow in Shanghai, my hometown in northeastern China snows like crazy all winter long, and this song reminded me of my childhood there – oh the good memories 🙂

2. Yoga Lin (林宥嘉)

Still a college student when he became the season one champion of the Taiwanese version of “American Idol,” Yoga Lin (don’t ask me how he came up with that name) has been a pretty big deal in the Mando-pop scene ever since. He’s good at singing soft ballads, but his voice seriously explodes in his rock tracks. Even though he’s got the innocent looks of a 12-year-old, Yoga’s definitely got a darker, edgier, and more mature side to him that tells me he’s here to stay for good. Check out the following track “Wake Up (自然醒)” in which he complains about all the noise in the world and expresses his simple wish to wake up naturally in the morning. I hear ya, Yoga, I hear ya.

3. Hu Xia (胡夏)

Compared to Jacky and Yoga, Hu Xia is the new kid on the mando-pop block, but just as talented and full of potential. As the season six winner of the same Taiwanese singing competition that launched Yoga’s career, Hu Xia signed with Sony Music right away (Leehom Wang belongs to the same record company). Last year he sang the theme song for the hugely popular Taiwanese movie “Apple of My Eye (那些年, 我们一起追的女孩).” Hear for yourself what some critics have called “the most pure and clear voice ever to enter mando-pop.” Go watch the movie if you haven’t. Then you’ll understand why my heart literally aches every time I hear this song (24 million views on youtube already!).

4. Khalil Fong (方大同)

Born in Hawaii but raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Khalil is, in my opinion, the best R&B singer in mando-pop right now. He almost always writes and composes his own songs, and if you look closely at his lyrics, only then do you realize how he can turn yet another love song into something so uniquely his. In a ballad conveniently titled “Love Song,” Khalil pulls quotes out of other artists’ love songs, including those of Jay Chou and Leehom Wang, and scatters them throughout his lyrics. When I heard this song for the first time, I had to double-check that I wasn’t actually listening to Jay or Leehom! I see what you did there, Khalil, and I like.

5. Eason Chan (陳奕迅)

I know I said I wouldn’t talk about somebody very famous but I just couldn’t leave Eason out of this post. He’s got the status of a god in the world of Mandarin ballads, no joke. The media even calls his “E-God” because Eason sounds very similar to “E-Shen,” with Shen meaning God. I don’t know how to describe what it is that makes Eason’s voice so pleasant and calming to the ear and always leaving you yearning for more – you just have to listen for yourself. Here is “Don’t Talk (不要說話)” – one of his lesser known songs, if such a thing as “a lesser known Eason Chan song” even exists. I suggest doing a Eason Chan playlist search on youtube the next time you sit down to crank out a paper or grant proposal – it’ll make everything a little less painful, I promise.

That’s all for now! Thank you for allowing me to introduce some of the hidden gems in mando-pop to you all. It’s been a pleasure. Keep an eye out for more editions of Mando-pop Crash Course in the near future!

Chris Lee sings opening theme for c-drama “Female Prime Minister”

Greetings fellow lovers of Asian pop culture! I am going to deviate from my normally news-like writing style and instead express to you all how super, totally excited I am for a new chinese drama! As mentioned in a previous post, Yu Zheng’s newest production “Female Prime Minister” (女相) has wrapped up filming and currently undergoing post-production.

This past Tuesday, Yu Zheng Productions released a 5 minute music video for this drama featuring popular Chinese artist Chris Lee singing the opening theme song “Treasure” (珍惜). To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of her boyish image, but I gotta admit, her voice fits this bittersweet drama perfectly.

I’ve been following this production religiously ever since it began shooting because “Female Prime Minister” is the first time Chen Xiao (who’s actually under the management of Yu Zeng Productions) takes reins as the leading man. This is also the second time that Zhao Liying and Chen Xiao have been paired up in a drama (first time was in “Palace II”), and these two together is just way too much eye candy for me to handle – and the (very, very likely) possibility of them acting as Yun Ge and Liu Fu Ling in Yu Zheng’s next big production of Tong Hua’s “Yun Zhong Ge” will just make my year. (Yes, I am currently reading Ms.Koala’s translation of “Yun Zhong Ge” instead of writing my thesis…bad bad bad, I know.)

Anyway, back to the drama. Some viewers complained that everything looks too colorful in this drama, but then again, it is a Yu Zheng production, so that’s expected. Fans of Gui Gui were also disappointed by how little screen time she seems to get. I’ve been a fan of this rising Taiwanese actress ever since “Painted Skin” the drama, so I feel the fans’ concern as well. It’s just that this drama is so jam-packed with pretty actresses that I’m afraid Gui Gui will be lost in the crowd. Let’s hope it all turns out well in the end.

Check out the lovely MV below and lend support to this drama! It’s projected to air in July on Hunan TV…I’m telling you, graduation and the summer can’t come soon enough!