This K-Pop Round Up feels pretty similar to my last round up which featured BLACKPINK, Sam Kim, and artists from AOMG. LOL. After doing endless recaps, I’m taking a break to share my thoughts about some of the latest releases in the Korean music industry.
As a repackage to their full-length album ‘Regular-Irregular’, NCT 127 followed up with another song titled ‘Simon Says.’ While I’m not a big fan of NCT 127 (I prefer NCT U’s rotational concepts and members), I still check out their releases. NCT 127’s sound has always been more experimental and hip-hop based and ‘Simon Says’ definitely fits into that box. It might have been a little too experimental for me that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did with ‘Regular.’ Compared to ‘Simon Says’, ‘Regular’ is a simple hip-hop song with not a long going on. It’s simple and minimalistic at its best and doesn’t require much to be a catchy song.
There was a little too much going on in ‘Simon Says’ that I had a hard time understanding what was going on in the song at first. It had to take me a few listens to get used to the track. I would say that the beginning to ‘Simon Says’ is my favorite part of the track, but it still ultimately pales in comparison to ‘Regular.’ Additionally, Win Win won’t be participating in this comeback since he’ll be preparing for NCT China’s debut. That’s not such a bad thing right? We won’t see him in this comeback, but we’ll be seeing him in a new one which many fans (and I) are anticipating.
I really wanted to like Jennie’s solo debut ‘Solo.’ As the first solo debut out of the 4 BLACKPINK members, there was a lot of excitement, anticipation, and expectations for Jennie’s solo debut. It’s unfortunate that her solo debut didn’t do anything for me; it could have been easily replaced with another much needed and deserved BLACKPINK comeback instead.
I don’t even think it’s that Jennie doesn’t possess stage presence or charisma. She can bring out that fierceness and energy when she really wants to or when it’s needed. However, you didn’t see any of that charisma with this solo debut. It might have been because she felt awkward and nervous to be alone or or had a hard time adjusting to the solo debut or even because of the song itself. Whatever it was, the solo debut didn’t meet my expectations and wasn’t up to par for what I was hoping to see.
I’ll admit that the music video was gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing and Jennie herself is an adorable and pretty lady. However, her solo debut didn’t change any of the thoughts I had about her before. She doesn’t have enough of what it takes to be a soloist which is why her position as a rapper and vocalist in BLACKPINK is what is best for her. Plus, the song itself is not the funnest or most amazing song, let alone, to give to a popular girl group member for her solo debut (makes me wonder whether the song would have sounded like if it was sung by another soloist instead like Sunmi). Fortunately, her solo debut has been doing well in Korea and is well received among fans. It doesn’t come as a surprise considering just how many fans and huge of a following she has.
I can always count on Sam Kim to release great music. He never fails to impress with his songs and his vocals are certainly noteworthy as well. After releasing the first half of his album ‘Sun and Moon’, Sam Kim released the second half of the album. The title track for this release is titled ‘It’s You’ featuring Zico. While I’m not the fondest of Zico and his rapping, I’m glad that his rap didn’t interrupt the song and meshed well with Sam Kim’s vocals.
I love that Sam Kim’s b-side’s are just as good as his title tracks. Sometimes, I feel like his b-sides can also sub in as the title tracks because they’re just as good. Sam Kim definitely didn’t disappoint with this album and I’m so fascinated at how every track on the album sounds different, but is also just as great to listen to. Sam Kim’s name isn’t unheard of within the Korean music industry. He’s collaborated with a few other talented artists like producer Primary or rapper Loco of AOMG. However, there is always room for Sam Kim to promote his name and music even more. Hopefully, this album is what will boost not only his name and reputation as a musician, but also his success and fame.
Woo Wonjae (AOMG)
Speaking of AOMG, AOMG’s youngest rapper Woo Wonjae – who rose to fame after his appearance on ‘Show Me the Money 6’ – finally returned with some new music. His collaboration ‘We Are’ with Loco and Gray last year was extremely successful and popular. Woo Wonjae hit success right off the bat after signing with AOMG. The former SMTM contestant has returned with an extended play titled ‘af’ with the title track being ‘울타리 (a fence).’ The title track was produced by AOMG’s very own producer Gray so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the song is simple and laid-back, but that it also contains many of the other elements existent in Gray’s other compositions.
The music video was shot in Mongolia and apparently was filmed in 3 takes. It’s a simple music video and there’s not a lot going on, but the landscape shot at the end was breath-taking and amazing. Other AOMG artists like CEO Jay Park and Simon D showed Woo Won-jae their support by doing a reaction video to the music video. There, Woo Won-jae shared a few stories about the music video and spoke about the song to his fellow labelmates.
Woo Won-jae’s music career has been very interesting and inspiring in many ways. He went from being a no-name on a national hip-hop competition show to creating a name for himself through his lyrics and music. Now he’s in one of the biggest Korean hip-hop labels and is able to make the music that he wants. It’s a beautiful story and a beautiful sight to see. As someone who rooted for Woo Won-jae since his very first appearance on SMTM6, I’m very proud to see how far and successful he’s come.