We’re still here! Despite governmental advice which is near possible to comprehend, our stance is clear. As long as there is any sort of lockdown and extreme social-distancing in place, we will be here for recommendations. As always, we hope you enjoy what we have and hope to see you here next week. For now though, enjoy.
Moon Jong Up, YUNHWAY – ‘Headache’
Former B.A.P member Moon Jong Up ventured into the solo world last week with “Headache,” a fun, candy-coloured retro-inspired track. It’s nothing spellbinding, with most of the quality coming from polished vocals and a catchy refrain, but there’s still plenty of charm packed in. With synth flourishes, bass loops and hip-hop centric percussive beats, it’s layered well enough, and a guest verse from YUNHWAY helps add another facet to an otherwise vocally consistent if not a tad uninspiring offering.
Inoffensive and light, “Headache” is nice enough to place on a playlist for the times when you don’t really want to have to think about what you’re listening to.
SECHSKIES – ALL FOR YOU
True veterans of the industry, it may come as a surprise that SECHSKIES released their first ever EP in January. Perhaps puzzling to those familiar with the mini-album format which dominates a lot of Kpop, the group has always favoured full-length releases over bite size offerings.
Nevertheless though, ALL FOR YOU is a decadent, formidable first shortform release, capturing the group’s charm and seamless ability to interlace both past and present. The titular “All for You,” a nostalgic musical feat of ‘80s tinged drum machines, horns, synths and present-day rhythm guitar and intertwining vocals, works wonders for the group. The track feels as evergreen as the members themselves; sophisticated, experienced, sagacious as it glides through its four minute runtime.
Add this to songs like the upbeat, bouncy pop-leaning “Round & Round” and vocally impressive “Meaningless,” and it’s clear that Kpop stalwarts SECHSKIES have crafted something special (pardon the pun).
SURL – ‘Ferris Wheel’
Indie to its core, “Ferris Wheel” is a colourful, whispy release. Powered by its vocally strong chorus, the tone-heavy guitars and thumping percussion lay down ample groundwork for vocalist Hoseung to show off his prowess.
And, whilst there’s nothing too risky, or even any burgeoning touches to add a sliver of something different, it’s the overriding sense of stability and dreamy production which gives this particular track its stars.
Eric Nam, Loco – ‘Can’t Help Myself’
If carefree, megawatt pop is more of you thing though, look no further. “Can’t Help Myself,” a hyper, buoyant pop track is one Eric Nam’s most energetic offerings, one that is unrelenting in its sonic pull.
Full of personality, everything from the stings of electric guitar strums to the falsetto chorus and rapid Loco feature is hard to shake, helping to mould this into a song that continues to shine with age.
10cm, Chen – ‘Bye Babe’
A collaboration that looks good on paper and delivers just as stunningly when fulfilled properly, 10cm and EXO’s Chen provided one of the better acoustic tracks of 2017. Thanks to the pair’s higher register vocals meshing flawlessly, the song has a quirky element to it, excelling in playful autonomy.
There’s a tangible groove and feel-good factor to this ditty too, with the plucky acoustics resonating throughout the mix and the artistic chemistry allowing for a bit more freedom in the catchy hook. But it does stay sonically compact on the whole. No real spare parts are used save for some bass guitar licks and subtle keys, and nothing bleeds where it shouldn’t.
So, if you’re looking for a well organised, good-natured number, “Bye Babe” is the perfect song for you.
Gray – ‘Moon Blue’
Fortunately not a back-to-front cover of Oasis ‘classic’ “Blue Moon,” “Moon Blue” is yet another musical victory for one of Korea’s most talented producers, Gray.
Centred around an elastic synth beat, snaps and atmospheric bass, the AOMG producer’s slightly processed vocals are smoothly layered over the track’s verses. The chorus, which adds a sharp melodic loop, translates with ease to the listener, never choosing a needless climax, but rather favouring a more of the same consistently soothing tone.
Complete with a TikTok dance challenge for everyone to try their hand at, there’s certainly enough mileage in “Moon Blue” to get you through the days.
Jay Park – Nothing Matters
A really good Jay Park release is pretty hard to find nowadays. Much like Raymond appearing on your Animal Crossing island, it’s a rarity of sorts, but a welcome one; a kind you fondly ensure you don’t take for granted.
And so, after a clunky, uninspired full-length release failed to grab any attention, it was a relief that the AOMG CEO followed it up with a gem of an EP. Nothing Matters is firmly rooted in Park’s R&B wheelhouse, utilising his sleek vocals and weaving them in between tropical, playful melodies.
“All Day (Flex),” a particular highlight, mixes these tropical sonics with a pop-leaning hook, playful lyrics and a tangible groove. Whether it’s having his bills paid or simply just the fact he’s feeling great, Park wants to flex it on you, and who can really blame him? The 33-year-old seems to live for the limelight and his goofy personality really translates seamlessly on tracks like this.
Similarly, “Yummy,” a collaboration with Crush, is a high-energy R&B ditty bolstered by colourful synths and vibrant snaps. The two work in perfect tandem vocally, bringing out a summery, warm feeling to another earworm of an offering.
Somewhat magnetic in its carefree nature – aside from the slightly more introspective titular “Nothing Matters” – this EP is a perfect listen for those who want to chill with some summer-tinged tunes.
And for another week, we’re done. As always stay safe, healthy, and we wish you all the best for the week ahead.