Saturated with light, people, colors, noise and music. That is life.

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Saturated.

(Review) Lee Hi’s First Love: First Impressions

Lee Hi dropped the first half of her debut album earlier. People  have high expectations for the album because of the stellar performance of her first single, 1,2,3,4 and to a lesser extent, the sophomore Scarecrow.  The two singles did a great job of showing Ha Yi’s range and versatility both as a performer and as a vocalist, so I’m looking forward to the discoveries I will make about her through this album.  Read on for my first impressions on the tracks…

Credits to YG Entertainment.

Credits to YG Entertainment.

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TvN is Rocking 2012

 TvN is having the time of its life this year. They have produced and are still producing some of the most underrated Korean drama/series so far. Underrated shows as they are, I found them made of better of quality, heart and story than most of their mainstream counterparts from KBS, SBS, and MBC.

 My affair with TvN started last year with Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. Though I didn’t entirely love that show because of the cheesiness of the script and I can hardly stand Jung Il Woo’s Cha Chi Soo, it provided a such a good laugh. Most of the cast were not yhet A-listers but they had such good camaraderie and I had loads of fun watching them.

Who didn’t love these hilarious people? (credits to

I thought that it was the last TvN show I would watch but then Dramabeans recapped Shut Up Flower Boy Band. I tried reading the first episode, watched it, loved it and the rest they say is history. I often end up disliking Korean youth-centered shows (e.g. Boys Over Flowers, Heartstrings) because most of the time that the shows become too focused on the love story of leads and the conflicts are larger than life. However, Shut Up has the atmosphere of Japanese youth-centered shows like Gokusen and Hana Kimi where the teens/kids themselves, their dreams, their friendship, the realistic conflicts they encounter at such age are the focus of the story. And I loved it. Learn from Shut Up (and also Dream High to a certain extent) Kshows, during teenage years, not everyone is too concerned about love. Give the kids a time to discover their dreams and their selves before they go on proclaiming their undying love.

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(Review) 2NE1 – I Love You

2ne1 just released a new single entitled I Love You and you can’t just imagine what lengths I did just to make sure I get a copy of the song at exactly 12 MN KST. Yes, I signed up for a paid Soribada account and this is the first time I actually did something like this.

(Credits to YG Entertainment)

Anyway, I’m digressing. Back to the song. When YG released the series of audio teasers for I Love You, I had a hard time figuring out how the song will turn out because the three teasers sounded like three different songs. And I wasn’t wrong about that. I didn’t like the song when I first played it. I thought it sounded disjointed and there was hardly continuity. You are welcomed by CL telling you “Love is the only way”, then a reggae-ish exchange between CL and Minzy at 0:07, then a change to the electronic repetitive “I love You” and series of verses at 0:36, then back to the reggae-ish feel at 2:46 then electronica to the max at 3:19. I thought I was hearing four songs that were chopped at random parts and were glued together to make the final I Love You product.

Several repeats after… It’s a totally different story. When I thought I couldn’t put the song on repeat, now I am so addicted. I don’t know what’s in this song that makes me want to play over and over again! Is it the beat? Is it the loopy verses? I just can’t pinpoint it. Teddy and Lydia has a done a good job of creating a song that is not entirely ground breaking but enough to make people addicted to it and love it—the very requirements of a smash hit.

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The Quality of YG Music Videos

I love the music videos that YG is producing lately, more importantly their quality. One thing I hate about the current Kpop scene is how idol songs and music videos (MV) have turned into one repetitive cycle. YG is no exception to this. However, I am glad that they have not succumbed to dishing out low quality music videos just to say that their songs have accompanying MVs.

I appreciate it a when a company exerts an effort to construct a story for an MV and not just let the singers dance in a box, shoot them, and that’s it. If their going to do so, then they have to make sure the sets and clothes are going to catchy and flashy enough and the video is shot in super HD to engage the viewer up to the last second of the video.

Anyway, I am digressing again. Going back to YG, they have a combination of MV with story/flowing MV and with MV’s in a box. Nonetheless, their videos are always an eye candy and I can’t help but go O___O. They have also ventured into producing animated videos which are such a good breather for viewers once in a while.

Here are some of their “flowing MVs” which I love:

1. Gummy ft TOP – Sorry (Japanese Version)

This video just came out today but holly molly, it just became one of my favorite videos. Aside from Gummy’s usual amazing voice, there is an excellent use of visual elements in this video.

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Post 16: My Views on Mainstream Music

And so… I decided to continue the 30-day post challenge which I started ages ago but I somehow mutated it to a 30-post challenge. I can barely update once a week so how much more on a daily basis?  Anyway, the challenge for post 14: my views on mainstream music.

Before anything else, how do you define mainstream music? Wiki says ‘it is music that is familiar and unthreatening to the masses such as pop music and pop rock’. Genres such as alternative rock, hip-hop, punk rock, etc. have been classified as music of the subcultures. Hmm. It’s a vague and limiting definition.

Nowadays, I think mainstream music is not limited to pop music alone. RnB, alternative rock, and hip hop have found their way into the mainstream scene ages ago.  In essence, mainstream music is any music that founds its way to the general consciousness of the people.

Do I enjoy mainstream music? Yes and no. You see… I don’t have a clear picture in mind how mainstream is mainstream and how indie is indie. Music is a form of art but if I always take music that way, I would hardly enjoy any song. Therefore, I take it face value. It does not matter if it a song is popular or not, if I love it, I love it.

I also don’t limit myself to a certain language, artist, or genre.  I believe music transcends those boundaries. I don’t like a song just because somebody told me it’s good. We all have difference perceptions of what good music is. At the end of the day, I love a song because it entertains me and I feel a certain connection to it.

How mainstream is mainstream? I still don’t know but this I leave in parting. Music is the product of our interests and we also take it because we find it interesting. 😉

(Review) 2NE1- Ugly

It’s the last the song out of the 2nd mini album to be released and as they say, “Save the best for the last!”

True to that saying, I think Ugly is the best song in the album and it definitely deserves to be the title song. I’m glad my wish from my previous review came true. For that, you have again my respect, YG. Ugly has everything: the clean production of Don’t Cry, the emotion of Lonely, the energy of I am the Best, and the subtlety of Hate You. What more could I ask for? The musical style employed in the song is a first from 2NE1 and it’s again very refreshing. I want to hear more rock-inspired songs from them the girls and I can see them doing this for a long time. YG is definitely gaining reign in producing songs of such style (Ugly, and Big bang’s Love Song).

(Credits to YG Entertainment)

At first, I thought the song was a ballad but the introduction of the drum beats and snares changed all that. The song is arranged interestingly in a way that the peak has been focused solely in the chorus. It works well for the song and most importantly to the message the song is conveying. It’s worthy to note how the vibe of the song is very the different from the atmosphere of the lyrics. At first look, the lyrics are very negative and a listener might think the singer is wallowing in self pity. Interestingly, the singer does not redeem herself in anyway effectively sealing the message of being comfortable of one’s true skin.

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(Review) 2NE1- Hate You

You saw this coming. Or maybe not. I was debating on whether I should post a review of the song but since I already reviewed the initial releases for 2NE1’s 2nd mini album, I might as well go until the end.

When I heard the teaser for Hate You I was excited because the chorus was upbeat, funky and less eccentric then I am the Best. However, when I heard the whole song, I was a bit disappointed. The melody is very repetitive and it’s again very CL-centered. I have to say sorry to CL fans but I don’ think she already has the capability to make an entire chorus interesting. I agree that out of the four members, she has the most versatile voice, but her voice doesn’t have the timbre of Bom or Minzy’s that can make a chorus more soothing to the ears. It also doesn’t help that she sounds “squeaky” again, something I haven’t observed since Lonely and I am the Best.

2NE1's alter ego. (Credits to YG)

Lyrics wise, I have no qualms. It’s pretty decent. However, the great impact which it could deliver was diminished by the very melody of the song. As I have mentioned earlier, it’s very repetitive and monotonous. For once, YG did not compose a “pleasing” loop. The bridge could have been a perfect way to infuse a gorgeous climax to song in the form of Bom’s line just before the last chorus but it was cut short.

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(Review) 2NE1 – I am the Best

I had a dilemma on whether I should review 2NE1’s new single I am the Best. You see, it took me more time then usual to digest the song. If it weren’t for the awesome SBS Inkigayo live performance, it would probably take days before I listen to the song again.

(Credits to YGLife blog)

I chose to review the song after the live performance video and MV came out because I was hoping they would change my perception of the song. Thankfully, they did. Now, I’ll talk about the song first. The moment I heard the intro, I knew it would be something of the likes of Can’t Nobody: hectic and very electronic. Thankfully, Teddy chose to minimize the use of autotune this time. Like I said in my previous reviews, 2NE1 can sound hip hop or electronic even without the use of autotune. The music itself is already infused with electronic sounds that the vocals should not be treated anymore.

I had no qualms with all the instruments infused in this song. They are needed to build the atmosphere that the song was trying to establish: energetic, funky, and edgy. Vocal wise, 2NE1 also delivered. Parts were interchanged comfortably. The recorded version did not sound boring.

Sadly, the downside of the song is its structure and lyrics. The lyrics are catchy but when you analyze it carefully, they are just a bunch of repeating phrases. This also translated to the melody. The song lacks a decent chorus and bridge. Sadly again, one of the things I hate about a song is using a single phrase for the entire chorus. For that, it’s worse than Can’t Nobody and I’m Busy. Note that I’m Busy is currently my least favorite 2NE1 song.

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(Review) 2NE1 – Lonely

Strings. This song is all about strings and I’m loving it. Lonely is an excellent addition to 2NE1’s growing resume. While many of us know that YG has the ability to produce a song of such quality and subtlety, the simple of use of stings still surprised me and it’s very refreshing to the ears. I already know 2NE1 can pull off mellow songs excellently: In the Club, It Hurts, Love is Ouch. But one aspect that made Lonely stand out is the absence of percussion instruments, synthesizers and minimal treatment of the vocals. Whoever composed and arranged the music, I so love you.

(Credits to YG Life)

I like how the music started with a simple guitar plucking then transitioned into strumming. It builds tension and anticipation for the chorus. The use of violin in the chorus made me grin from ear to ear. I love the music that violins create and I think violin music is one the most gorgeous sound you can infuse to a song. If you pay close detail to the song, at the part where Minzy and Bom sing “I’m so lonely…lonely..”, there are actually two violins playing. I loved it. They created a perfect harmonization. I wish 2NE1 can do the same.

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(Review) Park Bom – Don’t Cry

(credits to YG Entertainment for the picture)

Park Bom’s new single has been out for a while and I decided to do a review.  First thing that came to my mind when YG announced that Bom will jumpstart the comeback of 2NE1 was “Why her?”, when CL and Minzy are more versatile vocally. But then I remembered that of the three singles released last year, Bom’s You and I was the most succesful. So I don’t know if it’s a matter of potential commercial success or seniority since we all know Bom is the oldest member of 2nE1.

I listened to the song before watching the MV because sometimes MVs have a different effect on my appreciation for or a song. Production wise, the song is very clean. It has a gorgeous piano introduction and loop. I also love the subtlety in the refrain part and how it builds the chorus.  The music for the  refrain and the bridge has also been produced perfectly for Bom’s voice and range since I am aware that she is not really capable of holding a falsetto because her voice is very powerful.

  I’ve never been a fan of the humongous instruments that YG seems to put in its songs, but I can forgive them this time since I like the song in general.  Had Teddy stuck to the piano alone, the song would have been very subtle. The snares added some umpf and makes it more lively and danceable. I also hope YG  could experiment with Bom and also Minzy with the likes of Taeyang’s material. I think it would suit them well.

Vocally, Bom is very capable of holding a song on her own.  I also think her ability as a singer can be better appreciated in Don’t Cry rather  in You and I. I like both songs but as I have mentioned before I prefer her singing in her lower range. In You and I, you can hear her difficulty in breathing  even in the recorded version and it seems her range have been stretched out. One thing I love about Bom’s voice is its color and power, and I think it has been clearly showcased in this song, though not to the level of We Belong Together.  This is also one of the few times that they actually considered making her sing in falsetto. You can here it for a few seconds in the refrain and I like it. She needs to develop her technique on that aspect.

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Define a Good Teaser

Men. April 8 come fast! 😀

It’s so effing good!