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K-pop essentials for Tokyoites and the international market

K-pop essentials for Tokyoites and the international market

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Korean Pop (K-pop) is growing in international esteem but for new people who are following this music scene then Modern Tokyo Times created an essential mix. Of course k-pop fans will either support or disagree with the reasons given but this is the nature of music. However, one thing that everyone will agree with who adores K-pop, is that this music scene is in the news and big time.

The order given does not denote preference because each song selected is deemed to be “essential” for newcomers to K-pop because lovers of this music scene will already have deep knowledge. However, the first track selected isn’t released until December 7 and this adds more spice.

Therefore, the first essential buy applies to BoA who is well known in Japan and her new track released on December 7 called “Milestone” is a classic track which plays to the strengths of this elegant lady. “Milestone” hits the heart because you can feel the passion of BoA and the lovely melody and exquisite voice works fantastically.

BoA hits every height with this track and shows the richness of such a talented lady and her avid followers are rewarded by this lovely tune. A must buy for people who want to feel the passion of K-pop and listen to a lady with a rich history.

The next essential tune is “Step” by Kara and clearly this group is loved in Tokyo and throughout Japan. How could you keep Kara out of any essential mix? Simply put, when you listen to Kara you can feel their international dimension. Kara, therefore, is a must for all individuals who want to feel the real vibrancy of K-pop.

Girls’ Generation consist of nine exquisite and elegant members and Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yuri, Jessica, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Sooyoung, Seohyun and Yoona, are highly loved in Japan just like Kara. The track called “Mr. Taxi” sums up the catchy and sultry nature of this K-pop group because they have style in abundance and this track is a must for all K-pop lovers in Japan.

Another essential buy is “Shanghai Romance” by Orange Caramel (a sub unit from After School) because Raina (Oh Hye Rin), Nana (Im Jin Ah) and Lizzy (Park Soo Young) look so stylish and natural together. They have a lovely sex appeal which is natural and charming and each individual plays to their strengths.

“Shanghai Romance” is a catchy tune and the singing, dancing, and image is truly wholesome. After School and Orange Caramel clearly have a bright future and the three stunning ladies who represent Orange Caramel have their own unique vibe and sound and highlight the diversity of K-pop.

The next essential tune is “Like The First Time” by T-ara because the adorable 7 girl group members are working their special charms in Japan. In truth, T-ara have played it gently on entering the Japanese market and older tracks highlight a different vibe and in time they will cross over their earlier work and create a new formula.

T-ara have evolved from five members to seven and these ravishing ladies will continue to win new hearts throughout South Korea, Japan, and internationally.  They are certainly adding to the “Korean Cool” image.

Another essential tune is “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk which is extremely powerful and appeals internationally.  The video was over dramatic near the end but the track was fantastic and many new paths should open for Bang Yong Guk.

Future tracks by Bang Yong Guk will find it hard to surpass “I Remember” because it is that good. However, in saying this, his high octane nature and spirit may build on such a powerful tune. It will be interesting to see how he develops because all the signs look promising.

“Top Girl” by G.na is another essential buy because while the lyrics are so-so this extremely talented lady still pulls it out of the fire and creates a lovely track. This in itself shows the elegance and style of G.na because her individualistic style hits a positive nerve.

G.na appeals internationally because of her style, lovely image, interactive nature of her performance and other fine qualities. Therefore, “Top Girl” is a great tune which highlights the fine qualities of this exquisite lady.

The next group is Chocolat who have a bright future and “Syndrome” was selected because these beautiful ladies have a highly promising career and would work a treat in Japan. Therefore, this track was highlighted with an eye on the future and surely this group will grow and prosper.

“So Cool” by Sistar is another catchy tune to listen to but the video was a little negative and didn’t highlight their strengths. Despite this, these stunning ladies have a real buzz about them and clearly they work well together and Sistar have talent in abundance.

A Pink is a new group which is just reaching out but they have many fine qualities and their track “Wishlist” highlighted their individualistic talents. In truth, both writers of K-pop at Modern Tokyo Times are expecting a lot from A Pink because they have “elegance, poise, refinement and the glories of youth.”

Finally, but not least, is the lovely and delightful Kan Mi Youn whom both writers have a mega soft-spot.  Kan Mi Youn never lets you down and if you are new to K-pop then you are spoilt for choice because all her latest tracks have been fantastic.

“Paparazzi” is a lovely track and Kan Mi Youn is one of the classiest K-pop singers and like BoA both soloists are pure class. Therefore, “Paparazzi” is a must buy because Kan Mi Youn is an amazing singer and she is so talented.

The records selected were not based on order but seemed like a natural order and A Pink and Kan Mi Youn were chosen near the end for obvious reasons. Kan Mi Youn was selected like BoA to start because both ladies have hit the heights many times in the past and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, A Pink is just starting on their path and show great prospects.

Overall, if you are new to K-pop then check the many great South Korean websites online for latest news.  After all, the vibes coming from South Korea are reaching out to new people every day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J6zsvcvhaU  BoA – “Milestone”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOcCNpdkjG4 Kan Mi Youn – “Paparazzi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhseD2tRLUY  Girls’ Generation – Mr. Taxi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxxoq7uqnbU Orange Caramel – “Shanghai Romance”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPhbYl7rV0 T-ara – “Like The First Time”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrx5dWxcJ4   Bang Yong Guk – I Remember

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nli8waw_5vY G.na – “Top Girl”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUVbf_aqU5k&ob=av2n Sistar – “So Cool”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYoYoBtLqOY&ob=av2n  Kara – “Step”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD3LzPp6KDs  A Pink – “Wishlist”

http://moderntokyotimes.com

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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K-pop and “Korean Cool”: tunes hitting Seoul, Tokyo, and further afield

K-pop and “Korean Cool”: tunes hitting Seoul, Tokyo, and further afield

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Korean pop (K-pop) is whirling its way throughout Asia and beyond because of great singers, fantastic imagery, passion, an abundance of talent, and sheer quality.  Of course you will have great artists in all nations but currently it is the K-pop scene which is dynamic, forward thinking, and expressing “Korean cool.”

This article was written just before the beautiful and exquisite Kan Mi Youn releases her latest record called “Won’t Meet You” on September 29. Therefore, comments will be made once her latest tune is released but the teaser points to yet another powerful song like “Paparazzi” but with a completely different format.

Recent tunes that have made a big splash in South Korea in the last few months or have just been released include “Syndrome” by Chocolat, “So Cool” by Sistar, “Top Girl” by G.na, “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk and “Step” by Kara.  Other tunes have also hit the streets of South Korea, Japan and much further afield.  However, these tracks stand out from an international point of view because of energy, connection and vibrancy.

“I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk was an instant success and the style, lyrics and video all came together.  The ending of the video is a little over dramatic but the scene of the body on the ground while holding a lady was a good touch.  If other tracks by Bang Yong Guk have the same energy and creativity then surely his career will bloom.

The track “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk would certainly appeal internationally because despite the dramatic scenes of the video the singer gives you “a raw street image.”

“Syndrome” by Chocolat impacted on the charts and was full of energy and will appeal to the market it is aimed at. Not the raw energy of Bang Yong Guk but clearly a different style of music and shouldn’t really compare. 

Clearly Chocolat have a bright future and “Syndrome” is a track which would do well in Japan. It will be interesting to see how these beautiful and talented ladies progress over the next twelve months because they have so much to offer and I can’t wait for their next track.

“Top Girl” by G.na was turned into a lovely track by this very elegant lady who sings with a lovely melodic voice.  Energy is one thing that all these tracks have and clearly K-pop is doing this to a T.

The track “Top Girl” itself was average with regards to the lyrics but G.na made it special because of her individualistic style and vibrant nature.  G.na is certainly adding to the K-pop buzz and long may she continue to bless the world with her talents.

“So Cool” by Sistar was a catchy tune but the video was a mismatch of energy, uncertainty of where it should go and then back to girl power.  Music wise, a track which will appeal because of the raw energy of the group and the sex appeal adds to the dimension because they are all stunning ladies.

I get the feeling that Sistar are about to reach new heights because they certainly have something special about them.  The track “So Cool” seemed to contain them in the video after reaching a high. Therefore, listening is where the power of the track belongs and these ladies provide such a positive image and work together elegantly.

“Step” by Kara had a great beat, lively lyrics despite simplicity, movement, vibrancy, and a strong connection with the listener who likes this style of music.  All ladies ooze power, energy, freedom and you can feel their passion when you watch the video or you can hear their love of music when you listen to the track.

Kara is a group which is widely respected in Japan and they project such a positive image of K-pop.

Overall, in the last few months you have had many fantastic tunes coming out of the K-pop scene and clearly not all the great tracks have been mentioned.  However, K-pop is rising and with so many groups and solo artists around then the future looks fantastic for “Korean cool.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5wO8ejwVRI “Top Girl” by G.na

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYoYoBtLqOY&ob=av2n “Step” by Kara

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ucP3UhrhF8  Chocolat – Syndrome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrx5dWxcJ4  Bang Yong Guk – I Remember

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj3q0ZChgFE  Sistar – So Cool

http://www.thecnstar.com/    Magazine for latest K-pop/culture/entertainment

http://www.kanzume.jp/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/04/korean-pop-music-continues-to-hit-the-heights-in-japan/   – Article highlighting K-pop by Modern Tokyo Times

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/22/kanstyle-magazine-to-open-up-south-korean-fashion-k-pop-culture-in-japan/ – Highlighting Kanstyle Magazine

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/27/kan-mi-youn-and-k-pop-new-powerful-song-to-be-released-on-sep-29/ – Kan Mi Youn

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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