“그냥 좋다 싫다 한마디가 어려운 걸까?”

“Right?” by Primary featuring Soyou | My next K-pop obsession is this, because it’s such a chill groove. Do I have to prolong that? Is that enough? I have lots of things to do – you want me to elaborate on that? Okay, then. Primary is a producer, mostly for hip-hop, but his latest mini, Pop, goes the chill groove route. It got a bit of attention for the first new music from EXID‘s Solji, who was sidelined from her group’s last release for medical reasons – but then the single was this one with Soyou, formerly of summer mavens Sistar. Well, she can be relied on for those breathy, sexy, yet quite coy songs – see another K-pop classic, her duet with Junggigo, “Some” – but this has this little bit of magic that means I have to play it at least once a day. That enough? I have work to do, excuse me. [NB]

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“Never wanted to be a bad man, but I’m a bad man just the same.”

“Blue Magic” by Son Little | I’ll need to set the table here. My laptop might be having problems again, and what timing: my big event is in two weeks, and I have more things to lay out! Great just great. On my way back home I was worried sick, which is a weird time to have a song snap into place, and a song as breezy as this one. Son Little is Aaron Earl Livingston, who is based in Philadelphia, which is not a place you think of when you think of the beach. But then this song does have that very 60s sound, that distinct Philly soul sound, so it all makes sense. And “Blue Magic” does not quite hit a peak, which is good: it meanders. So maybe that’s why it hit me. I felt worried; I did not need something big. But I’m still worried. Big event in two weeks. [NB]

“안아줄래 안아볼래 안아도 꽉 안아줄래.”

“Rolly” by Good Day | Two disclaimers. One, I’m going to talk about choreography, even if I’m not a dancer. Two, I’m posting the official video here, but you might be better off watching this live performance from rookie K-pop group Good Day. They just debuted, one of many groups that bid to be noticed or be forgotten. “Rolly” is a straightforward Broadway opening number, or so I say. It’s bombastic. It’s a sound we haven’t heard in K-pop in a while – it’s been a while since IU traded on that. I guess people were afraid to touch it: for a long time IU owned that niche, and when last year Brown Eyed Girls’ Gain played with it (and she did well; with a voice I’m putting on the “delicious” category, she ought to), there was criticism that she was ripping the former off. So, this one’s a risk. Thankfully it’s a pretty catchy, fun song. They don’t go too close to IU (and yes, I posted a song of hers called “Good Day”) but that’s a smart decision. They instead play it up with the choreography, which really bears down on the Broadway comparison; there’s so much going on, I hate that the camera had to move! (Plus, that last aegyo moment on the live clip was an inspired touch.) While the rest of K-pop either go for tight (see GFriend) or just-do-as-everybody-does (see SNSD), this stands out. But then, again, what the hell do I know? [NB]

「君を想いそして忘れていく。」

“Royal Memories” by Special Favorite Music | It was actually Claud who stumbled upon this Japanese group, as she is wont to do, because Japanese groups are her thing. (Cue me, again, pondering why we cannot listen to Japanese radio.) Special Favorite Group is a, well, a Japanese band, jazzy in that soaring, glorious kind of way. Bright, happiness-inducing… but then, I think that’s what most Japanese music does, at least to me, a person still at arms-length from the midst of it. We had that conversation months ago, and somewhere along the way we realized a new album is coming out. It has come out, actually, at the beginning of this month, so this is me being late, and yet early at the same time. [NB]

“널 어떡해야 좋을지 잘 모르겠어 난.”

“Dumb Dumb” by Jang Jae-in, Giantpink and Perc%nt | Before I overplay this song and it loses its mystique, I’ll write about this. Yes, for the eagle-eared out there, this is a cover of Red Velvet’s signature song. Apparently, there’s this web series where two entertainment companies, S.M. and Mystic, do cross-pollinating stuff like this. I bet it’s only the case because the former bought a majority stake on the latter, though. (Red Velvet did this song the same week, which, well… but then I am not familiar with the original.) I haven’t heard of Perc%nt before, but I know Jang Jae-in for her soundtrack work, and Giantpink won the last season of Unpretty Rapstar, a show I of course haven’t watched, but know of because it brought us Kisum. So this one – this one’s sexy. Sure, it might wear off its welcome soon, but considering the original is the distillation of Red Velvet’s quirky pop concept (one they can’t seem to get a grip of now, which is a shame) you would have never thought an approach like this one would work, but it did. So, there. Enjoy. [NB]