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! 😀

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