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Dani's Bibimbeats Magazine Spread Uncategorized

[BIBIMBEATS] Track-By-Track: Block B, ‘Very Good’ – A Comeback We’re Thankful For

Block B started off the year with much uncertainty. Contract disputes resulted in a lengthy legal battle with their former agency, Stardom Entertainment, which put a halt on the group’s activities and a large question mark over their future. Despite only debuting two years ago, their impact has become increasingly tremendous. Their hard-hitting hip-hop style has since reflected greatly in later and similar acts like B.A.P and Bangtan Boys, both of which have cited Block B as major influences and mentors. Now resettling into self-made label Seven Seasons, Block B is finally making their return with a new mini album. ‘Very Good’ offers a brief but varied reassurance to fans that the boys aren’t leaving anytime soon. (In fact, if ‘Very Good’ is any indicator, they’re about to get even better.)

“VERY GOOD”: With the electro-infused and frantic “Very Good” as opening track, Block B makes a confident comeback. The energy makes the single sound almost as if they picked right up where the pirate-punks of “Nilili Mambo” left off. Block B leader Zico’s line of ‘How many fake MCs out there?’ directly challenges the current state of the K-Pop scene, the kitsch of ‘aegyo rapping’ keeping the merits of many in question. The music video concept continues to project this rebellious idea, the ‘bank heist’ setting of the song reminiscent of a strange mixing of Lil Wayne’s “Got Money” and scenes from “The Dark Knight”.

“BE THE LIGHT”: “Be The Light” offers a completely different perspective, contrasting its opener with a striking ballad. Lyrically, the song is from the perspective of a lonely boy wishing to be acknowledged and adored by the girl of his interest again, hoping that being in her ‘light’ will rid her from the ‘darkness’ he has been living in. Still, knowing of the struggles Block B went through, one cannot help but consider this something of a metaphor for how the year’s legal dramas stifled the members’ relationship with their fans. While Block B is not necessarily known for being a ballad group, it is nice to see how well they were able to pull a ballad song off, and I hope to see similar songs from them in future releases.

“WHEN, WHERE, WHAT, HOW” featuring Jo Hyuna of Urban Zakapa: Kyung’s solo song “When, Where, What, How” oozes in an understated cool. Collaborations in K-Pop so commonly misuse the featured artists – for example, SISTAR’s Hyorin on Dynamic Duo’s latest album, but the appearance of Urban Zakapa’s Jo Hyuna on this track is both flawless and complementing. One of our past issue’s ‘Indie Women to Watch’, Hyuna adds a new layer of ‘coffee shop’ credibility to the nature of the song, only augmented further by light piano and mellow bass. “When, Where, What, How” brings a new facet to Park Kyung’s image and role within Block B. His quick vacillations between rhyme and song prove his label as the group’s ‘lead rapper’ to be a bit of an injustice. Kyung’s got a lot more tricks up his sleeve, and he doesn’t seem to mind showing them off.

“NICE DAY”: The final song “Nice Day” rounds the album out with another rap-heavy track, opening up by encouraging listeners back onto their feet. The song starts off by making an energetic shout-out to ‘party people’ and is paired with some hollering from the group’s rappers. However, the track the song is laid over does not seem to match the song as much as it probably should have. With embellished horns, drums, and piano, the accompaniment seems to better fit a jazz lounge than the hip-hop stage the hook and verses seem to have been written for. While exploring new genres and styles is integral to the further evolution of a group’s sound, it would have been nice to see something of a ‘throwback’ effort closing the album out. Last album ‘Blockbuster’ somewhat mastered the use of primal beats and urban sound, making it difficult to adapt to this newer approach.

blockb3

Overall, Block B seems to be developing a new plan of attack with their sound, offering a pretty wide range of genres and styles over a short four-track span. Known as something of the resident ‘hip-hop group’ of K-Pop, ‘Very Good’ shows that there are still more sides to Block B begging to be discovered. It will be exciting to see resurgence in production from the group. Just recently enjoying their first music show win on last month’s Inkigayo, the absence of their talent has been evidentially and greatly missed from the K-Pop scene. It’s good to have you back, boys. Now go back in the studio, and record us a longer album!

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Millie's Motoongee Uncategorized

[Sep/Oct] Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

[September/October]

Maknae Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

With the domination of certain K-pop solo artists (*cough g-dragon cough*), there were not that many music videos to review. Therefore I have combined my review for September and October. September brought out the girls and their powerful vocals while October brought a variety of different genres and styles.

10. Kim Ye Rim – Voice [September]

Kim Ye Rim - Voice

Kim Ye Rim has one of the most distinguishable voices in the Korean Music Industry, and once again brings it forth, ironically, with her single “Voice”. But this song has nothing to do with her unique, husky deep voice, but with the voice of her ex, a voice that she misses the most when she thinks of him. The music video is simple but gets the message across; Kim Ye Rim is alone, listening to music in her room when an Earthquake begins. The Earthquakes coincidentally occur every time the chorus comes up, but symbolizes her erupting feelings everything she “hears” her old boyfriend’s love. It shakes her up and reminds her of the past.

 

9. Kara-Damaged Lady [September]

Kara - Damaged Lady

Kara returns with “Damaged Lady” – and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a Kara fan. Most of their songs haven’t stuck with me. “Step it Up” wore me down, and as soon as I heard “Damaged Lady” I was instantly won over. It’s catchy, upbeat, and fast-moving, and has a song message that I’ve never seen in K-pop before. It’s about a girl whose boyfriend has just broken up with her. She sees all the couple in love around her on this bright, sunny day and feels bitter, angry and pathetic. She warns the others that she is not nice today, because she is a damaged lady. Mixing between masculine outfits and feminine ones, the music video is not as strong as the song, but still does alright.

 

8. G-dragon –Coup D’etat [September]

G-dragon - Coup d'etat

G-Dragon dominated the charts when his new mini album came out at the end of summer, “Coup D’etat”, and likewise his same named title track music video stood out among the rest. Each frame is packed full of symbolism that I can’t even begin to understand. The song and cinematography are both hauntingly beautiful, and seems to have a yin-yang scheme of black and white (likewise with the song, a switch back and forth in the tempo from fast rap parts to a slowed down chorus). This is actually one of my favorite G-dragon solo songs, and I’m always impressed with the concepts he comes up with.

 

7. Block B – Very Good [October]

Block B - Very Good

Block B makes a banging comeback with “Very Good”,  finally having settled in a new company after their lawsuit. Scoring their first win with “Very Good”, Block B has proven to fans that they are here to stay and continue to make awesome music. Their latest title track is as upbeat and crazy as their last songs. The music video features the boys being troublesome again; from pirates to now crazy bank robbers. Lyrics contain their subtly, and not so subtly remarks towards culture events, and fans can’t help but also notice Zico’s tribute to G-dragon by copying all of his iconic looks. I’m glad Block B is sticking to their true colors.

 

6. Troublemaker – Now [October]

Troublemaker -Now

Troublemaker finally makes their return after a 2 year hiatus, and they defiantly made a grand appearance with “Now”. With so many scene and outfit changes (not to mention the expensive race cars) it seems like Cube Entertainment really went all out for this music video. Despite its similarities to Rihanna’s music video, this grungy, sexy but not glamorous style was brand new for K-pop. The dance and song were not as catchy as “Troublemaker” but I still really enjoyed this comeback.

 

5. Zia – If you loved me [September]

Zia - If you loved me

Zia comes back with her sorrowful ballad “If you loved me” featuring the vocal accompaniment of Hae-ri from Davici. The song is calm but desperately calls out to her past lover, wanting him back. She tells him if he ever loved her, then he will think about their memories and consider coming back to her. The drama version of the song has an equally sad story-line about a young couple that breaks up when the boy starts to go blind, and instead of wanting his girlfriend to be with someone disabled, he breaks up with her against his heart’s wishes and hers.

 

4. K.Will – You Don’t Know Love [October]

K.Will-You Don't Know Love

K.Will did it again and came out with another wonderful easy-going track. “You Don’t Know Love” is not a romantic song at all (besides it sounding like one), but he expresses his frustration and irritation over the girl who doesn’t seem to understand his feelings at all – he is not falling out of love with her, but it’s just the ups and downs of a relationship, and she broke up with him too soon. The music video seems to express the hope of fixing the relationship as the boy and girl in the drama version are packing up the things the other gave them during their relationship, to give back now that it is over between them. But while looking at these items, they remember the memories and good times with them and are able to be together again.

 

3. Piggy Dolls – Butterflies [October]

Piggy Dolls - Butterflies

Piggy Dolls have made a cute comeback with “Butterflies” – a very relatable song for most girls. They talk about the clichés butterfly feelings a girl gets when she is in love. The song message is very cliché, talking about being in love – as well as the music video (all the girls are camping, having fun and singing while roasting marshmallows), but nonetheless the song is very addicting and just pure-hearted fun. A late summer song, but a cute single anyways.

 

2. Jung Joon Young – Spotless Mind [October]

Jung Joon young - Spotless Mind

“Spotless Mind” was the first time I ever heard Jung Joon-young’s voice, and wow, I was instantly taken back. First of all, it doesn’t even seem like such a powerful dark voice could come out of such a skinny guy. But his voice is captivating and the song seems to lull you in like a powerful melody. The lyrics also standout- he has created a spotless mind and erased the memories of his loved one. I’m glad this rocker is able to make such a strong stance among the idol singers.

 

1. Spica – Tonight [September]

Spica - Tonight

Spica returned with “Tonight”, another underrated single with their signature power vocals. Spica has always had uniquely beautiful music videos, skimming the fine line between artistic and visually appealing to make a fine mixture of both. “Tonight” has the girls in bohemian style, outside with nature as their background and only laughter as the girls are enjoying life together as their song suggests one to do. The added pastel filter, dust paint splashes and slow motion moments added to the sensual and fun theme. “Tonight” is not only one of my favorite songs of the summer this year, but also one of my favorite songs from a female K-pop group.

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Uncategorized Webmaster Announcement

From Stevie Wonder to 2NE1 – International Worlds Collide at 2013 MAMA Airing in the U.S. Exclusively on Mnet America

MNET lineup

Hit-makers Icona Pop and Ylvis (“What Does the Fox Say”) to Share the Stage with Asia’s Megastars on November 22 in Hong Kong

 

Dumbfoundead (a.k.a. Parker) and Bekah to Highlight English-hosted Live

Broadcast of the Award Show

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – November, 14 2013 – Mnet America (www.mnetamerica.com), the first and leading national, 24/7 English-language television network in the U.S. for all things Asian cool, has announced that they will be airing the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) LIVE from the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong on its cable network as well as their YouTube channel online (www.youtube.com/mnetamica). Stay-up on November 22 at 1:00 am PST (4:00 am EST) for the chance to witness Asia’s biggest award show unfold live.

Big name international acts including musical legend Stevie Wonder, Icona Pop (“I Love It”) and Ylvis (“What Does the Fox Say”) will bolster a lineup packed with Asia’s biggest stars including 2NE1, BIG BANG, EXO and Crayon Pop.  From the red carpet to the explosive performances Mnet America will ensure North American fans know exactly what is happening as English-language hosts Danny Lim, Hannah Jun, Dumbfoundead (a.k.a. Parker) and Bekah (After School), guide viewers every step of the way.

“A big part of Mnet America’s role as an ambassador of Asian cool here in the States is making sure that American audiences have easier live access to the amazing shows happening in Asia,” said Jae Yoon Choi, Producer and Head of Programming for Mnet America.

MAMA is an eye-popping year end celebration of the biggest stars on the planet.  Taking over Hong Kong for the second year in a row, MAMA 2013 will air in over 93 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, and Oceania, and celebrated by over 2.4 billion people around the world. In the past, blockbuster performances have included Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Adam Lambert and CL from 2NE1 on stage with the Black Eyed Peas.

 

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Events - beyond SD Events - San Diego Uncategorized

Kollaboration Star 2013 Aims to Beat Bone Marrow Donor Recruitment Record, Amps Up PreShow Festivities, and Announces Powerhouse Guest Judges

kollab2LOS ANGELES, CA –

Kollaboration Star 2013 marks the non-profit organization’s return to the renowned Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where Kollaboration first reached a record number of donor registrations for its community partner Asians N Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M). As Asian Americans have had historically low registration rates, Kollaboration has traditionally held annual donor recruitment drives at its talent shows in hopes of finding a match and saving a life.

In 2006, Kollaboration set an all-time record by registering 140 bone marrow donors for A3M’s Be the Match registry, and now in 2013, it aims to beat this record during Kollaboration Star on November 16th.

This recruitment drive in particular will work towards finding a match for Pasadena local Sofia Flores, a 23-month-old toddler with an aggressive form of leukemia.

A3M will be registering potential donors for Flores at Kollaboration Star, and attendees may sign up at the A3M booth in the Kollaboration Terrace.

Guests are also encouraged to arrive early to enjoy the other pre-show festivities taking place on the Kollaboration Terrace.

From innovative balloon art by Super Inflated to “Despicable!Me” minion-inspired caricatures by Minion Me, the Kollaboration Terrace will feature tons of special activities, starting at 4 PM and leading up to the show.

Full bars will be available alongside Los Angeles’ hottest food trucks: The Bun Truck, Seoul Sausage Company, and Bool BBQ.

Not to mention, sponsors Verizon Wireless, Nielsen, and McCafe will be providing free giveaways, games, and a photo booth, while fans will be able to catch their favorite celebrities walking the Red Carpet in support of Asian American entertainment.

Kollaboration Star is also proud to announce its panel of guest judges, which includes some of the most influential Asian American names in entertainment and!media: Jane Cha, Executive Vice President and Head of Production at Full Picture Entertainment; Bing Chen, Youtube Global Creator Development & Management Lead at Google; Arden Cho, popular singer, model, and actress currently filming MTV’s hit show Teen Wolf; Philip Fung, one of the early engineers at Facebook and co8-founder of the A3Foundation; Eric Kim, Vice President of Current Programs at CBS Television; Sang Kyu Kim, writer/producer of hit TV series including “The!Walking!Dead”; and Phil Yu, founder and editor of popular Asian American news and culture blog Angry Asian Man.

The seven judges’ combined experience in the industry will determine which of the six finalists will become the next Kollaboration Star and take home the $20,000 Grand Prize!!

To learn more about Kollaboration Star 2013, please visit www.kollaboration.org or connect on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KollaborationStar. Tickets are now available for purchase through Ticketmaster.

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2AM – If you missed them at KCON, they’re returning – wrapped in a Christmas bow!

2 AM LAUNCHES THE FIRST CONCERT IN THE U.S.

 2AM_poster

NOCTURNE IN CHRISTMAS

CLUB NOKIA L.A LIVE…DEC 15, 2013 7:30PM

 

One of the top-notched K-pop groups and well-known TV figures, 2AM, is finally launching their first-ever concert in the U.S. during Christmas season.

The four dominant figures, Jo Kwon, Changmin, Seulong and Jinwoon, are bringing their own “Nocturne” to Club Nokia L.A Live at 7:30PM on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Debuted in 2008 with “This Song” composed by JYP, 2AM is known for their heart touching songs as well as outstanding multi-talents as entertainer and actor.

2AM has been engaged in various Christmas concerts in Korea. This year, 2AM is bringing their show to Los Angeles with a concept of music drama that combines music and story.

The 2AM Concert will be presented by Big Hit Entertainment, CJ E&M, AEG Live and Powerhouse.

 

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Music and More

Infinite-ly Entertaining: Infinite Makes a Successful American Debut in Los Angeles

infinte tour

 

The general feel of the production of that of a finely tuned theatrical performance with a live band on stage and live music.

Yes folks, you heard me right, the performance was amazingly live.

 

 

November 8, 2013, Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE

“Infinite 1st World Tour – One Great Step” was the title of a cohesively produced performance that included not only the majority of Infinite’s globally popular songs, but solo performances, two showcase songs by the rap duo, Hoya and Dongwoo, and a video drama tie-in that opened the show and continued with segments throughout the evening.

But there were a few things that really set Infinite’s performance apart from the norm in Kpop performances.

production Incredible Production

In a world where perfection is everything, the KPop gurus seem to feel that audiences want to see the stars perform exactly what they see and hear on CD’s and music videos, so lip-syncing is an industry standard. Even when vocals are live, they are usually done over the original track.

If such “cheats” were used at the Infinite concert they were much less apparent as the vocals were truly live, and the band rocked. Gone were the strings and horn section that usually accompany Infinite tracks. The music, while different, was familiar yet subtly changed and exciting. The fans were not disappointed.

In fact, minor changes to the tracks did not stop the largely American demographic from enthusiastically busting out lyrics to all of their favorite songs along with their idols – a fact that was not lost on Infinite, some of whose members were moved to actual tears as they realized these crazy Americans really liked them and avidly followed their music.

IMG_6209Incredible Dancing

There are few Korean pop bands with choreography as clean as Infinite. Their live performance was no exception, and the boys danced their hearts out, not just as the beginning of the performance, but even at the end of a 3-hour show, they danced as if they were fresh on stage. Not all of their moves are incredibly complex, but the dynamic of the seven young men synchronized perfectly is compelling. They dance with gusto. They dance as if they love dancing. They dance with smiles on their faces.

choreo3Incredible Fan Service

Venue issues aside, it seemed every single act took giving the fans extra attention into account. The boys actively engaged the fans at every opportunity. They were not shy about climbing down into the crowd. Even when fans threw themselves at them, they took it with a smile and politely let security peel them off. During one song, each young man was equipped with a basket filled with little stuffed animals they gleefully tossed to the crowed. Two walked through the crowds personally handing out animals to their fans.

Every opportunity was taken to reach out and touch hands, snap selfies with fan phones, pick up fan gifts. In short, they were everything a fan-girl or fan-boy would want in an idol group at every step.

choreo1Incredible Effort to Speak to Fans

Most of the boys spoke English or tried very hard. Perhaps some of the lines were rehearsed, but no one cared. Hearing English, even if it was stilted or a little broken, was eminently charming and endearing. The effort made to try and speak in the native language was much appreciated by American fans that were visible moved by Infinite’s efforts.

Upon leaving the theatre we were greeted by crowd of patiently waiting parents. One couple, whose teenage son and daughter had yet to emerge, had been looking forward to this night. They are big Infinite fans. (OK, they like Big Bang, too! Shhhh.) Mom and dad had a date night while they waited. How do they feel about their kids listening to Korean music? “It has a great beat. If the music is good, it doesn’t matter. And there are some English words thrown in.” (laughs) “My daughter has taken it as an opportunity to learn some Korean.”

Before they left the stage, Infinite was already talking about coming back. I think they were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic welcome they received. Or perhaps by how American the audience was? Regardless, there is a large crowd that will be waiting for them to 다시 돌아와! (“Come back again!”)

choreo4 production2 choreo2

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Webmaster Announcement

[Announcement] Submit Your Article for Korea Daily December 2013 Magazine

 

Click the image to go to the submission page. Thank you!

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