24 July, 2012

bustered's playlist #3: Non-promoted K-pop tracks in 2012 Edition

I put up a few non-promoted K-pop tracks with my first playlist, but lately, I've been listening to a lot of non-promoted K-pop tracks that... are really REALLY good.  *shock*

When I began listening to K-pop (end of 2010, I think), I tried to listen to non-promoted tracks, but quickly gave up, since all the attention seemed to be payed only to promoted tracks, and everything else pretty much sucked.  But as K-pop has become more congested with a myriad of new groups (which could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your view), it seems harder for groups to compete, and harder to come out on top.... so only the best seem to win (but some awesome groups do still remain very much underrated while others less deserving groups continue to be supported by their huge fan groups).  So what's been happening?  More groups are coming out with more and better material.

Although I've been disappointed by several comebacks and debuts this year, for the most part, it's been pretty good.  And more members have become more active in writing, composing, and composing (sadly, girl groups don't seem to be as involved as boy groups), which is awesome.  And quite a few albums have been really solid, making me a happily surprised K-pop fan.

Here are a few of my favorite non-promoted tracks that have come out this year in no particular order:

Link: bustered's playlist #3

1.) 음성메시지(Voicemail or Voice Message) by B.A.P
I think this is the best song that B.A.P has come out with so far, and it's is on their newest mini-album "No Mercy".  I really like B.A.P, and I think they are very talented (and really super gorgeous- looking at you Mr. Himchan) and their live performances are AWESOME; however, I also think they are extremely overrated.  Both Bang Yong-guk and Zelo are still developing as rappers, and the group's style is also still in the making.  They've definitely made their mark this year, but "Warrior" "Power" and "No Mercy" have pretty much been in the same vein, though "Power" was arguably better than "Warrior", and "No Mercy" is arguably better than "Power".  Anyhow, this song is really excellent.  It still has the intensity that seems to come with B.A.P, but it's toned down a few notches, to create a beautiful, sad song.  Daehyun's voice is heavenly as always, and instead of the whistle that has become a B.A.P trademark, a phone dial tone is used.  And it's perfect.  

2.) 별헤는밤 (Midnight) by BEAST
Initially, I did not like this song, but after repeated listens it has become my favorite song on their newest album "Midnight Sun".   I'm not really a fan of dubstep in K-pop, but this song's minimal use is very tasteful.  I also love Junhyung's rap.  I like the sadder tone of the song, and despite how much I like "Beautiful Night", I prefer this song.  Also, I know it was kind of promoted, since it was the first track to be released and it had some kind of short MV, but they're not promoting it on stage so...

3.) Te Amo by U-KISS
Now this is how you use a saxophone!  This song is just so much fun, and I was pretty sad when they chose to promote "Believe" (I know, I know, written by AJ and all, which is awesome, but...) instead of this one.  I love the rap, the use of different languages, the heavy dance beat, the fun and energetic vibe... Kevin's voice, which surprisingly, outshines Soohyun's in this song. 

4.) 머문다 (Daydream) by Super Junior
Super Junior has always been at the top of my "K-pop groups with the most filler tracks" list, but although the "Sexy, Free, and Single" album, wasn't much different, it did have a couple of gems, this song being my favorite.  I like that it's more than a Super Junior K.R.Y. song, because there's more than three members that can sing in Super Junior, and in particular, Kangin, Sungmin, and Yesung sound exquisite.  I'm not really a fan of Super Junior ballads, so I was happy to hear a strong beat here.  Or maybe I just like this song because it kind of reminds me of that Super Junior masterpiece of ye old days "It's You".  Probably.

5.) Something Wrong (feat. Kyumin) by Keon U of LEDApple
I'm only kinda a fan of LEDApple, and I didn't like their newest single, so I didn't even bother looking at the album.  Luckily, Javabeans posted this song with one of her posts, and so I gave it a try.  And I love it so much, and it's a lovely song.  Sadly, it's the goodbye song for member Keon U, who is leaving the group, apparently due to health reasons.  This song hasn't converted me to the LEDApple fandom, but I definitely won't be ignoring any of their albums again.

6.) Beautiful Stranger by f(x)
So this is the second song from this album that I've posted, and this and "Let's Try" are definitely my favorites, and, in my opinion, shine far more than "Electric Shock".  Luna's voice is gorgeous, Krystal's is used well, and Amber's raps are awesome and very well done.  

7.) In the Summer by Infinite
I know, I know, this is the second song I've posted from Infinite's "INFINITIZE".  I just can't help my Dongwoo Infinite-loving-self.  I was extremely excited that they did do a few special stages where they performed this song, because it was the most adorable thing ever! (My favorite performance of the song... oh, and this one too!) It's such a nice, summery song.

8.) 두 개의 달이 뜨는 밤 (Two Moons) by EXO-K
Sorry, this isn't the "roll like a buffalo" version.  EXO's debut is probably the one that disappointed me the most, since "What Is Love" was and is one of my favorite K-pop songs.  Period.  And then "History" and "Mama" happened, and I wasn't that impressed.  So I've come to the conclusion that I like EXO best when it's at its extremes.  Either when the song is showcasing it's singers ("What Is Love") or rappers ("Two Moons").  I never expected EXO to come out with such a strong rap song, so I was pleasantly surprised, and it's my favorite EXO song besides "What Is Love".  Hopefully, they'll come out with a few more songs like this one.

9.) Imagine by BTOB
For the most part, I've been pretty impressed with BTOB, and hopefully their material will become less BEAST-esque.  Anyhow, it's a nice, slower tempo electro-pop-ballad, and the raps are good, and Eunkwang's voice is absolutely gorgeous.  

10.) 차 안에서 (Drive) by Dalmatian
Personally, I think that Dalmatian's comeback was sadly overlooked and that they are the most underrated boy group along with M.I.B.  Their live performances were always extremely good, their members are very talented, and, as their latest MV very kindly showed everyone, they're very good looking.  I personally like their new 5-member line-up much better, and their new album was really solid.  Besides "E.R.", this was my favorite song, and I love the chill feeling it gives me.  And the English is good, and makes sense.  Yay.

11.) 더치페이(Dutch Pay) (feat. Hafsa) by M.I.B
I love Hafsa (whoever she may be) and I think her more sensual voice really matches the song well.  All the raps are executed perfectly (as always) though I'm partial to Cream's parts in this song.  I love the "Dutch-a Pay" *clap clap* section. I love how true, and never forced, M.I.B songs feel, and I really hope that they gain more recognition.  Because they're super talented, and ridiculously underrated.

12.) 낙화 (落花) (Falling Flower) by M.I.B
M.I.B have a tendency to sound all swag and cool most of the time, so this song, with it's more vulnerable, sad, and angry sound, is a welcome change.  I also love the underlying use of the electric guitar.  M.I.B haven't even been coming out with music for a year, and they've already grown so much, and come out with two solid albums and another solid single.  5zic's rap is an excellent ending to a very strong song.

13.) Good Morning (feat. Kwon Jeong-Yeol of 10cm) by Verbal Jint
So I couldn't find a version on YouTube besides a couple of covers, and this live performance that I put in the playlist is an incomplete version with Sanchez from Phantom, who is featured on Verbal Jint's spectacular promoted track "Beautiful Enough".  To say the least, Sanchez's vocals don't do the song justice.  The song is very light, jazzy, and enjoyable, and is perfect for walking in the morning with a great big smile on your face.  It is available on the U.S. Itunes, but I don't know about other countries.  If you can get your hands on it, do it.  It's on Verbal Jint's "10 Years of Misinterpretation" album, which is slightly brilliant, if you ask me.

14.) 싱크로율 100% (100% Synchronization) by Block B
As always, the raps are effective (personally, I think Zico and Park Kyung are two of the most talented young rappers in the K-pop industry), and Taeil's and U-Kwon's (who rarely gets more than a line in most songs) voices are given the chance to really shine here.  It's a nice change from Block B's usually more aggressive approach.  My favorite song off of the "Welcome to the Block" album.

And because I can't end a list at an awkward number like 14, I'm adding another song... but it's not K-pop.  It's C-pop...

15.) 背叛灵魂 (Betrayer of the Soul) by 韩庚 (Han Geng)
So Han Geng used to be apart of Super Junior, though I have to admit, his material as a solo artist is way better than anything Super Junior has done in a while.  And his new album is coming out at the end of this month, and it sounds AMAZING, and this is my favorite that I've heard from the album.  It's such a beautiful song, and the English translation (which is in the video's description box) tells me that this is a lyrically beautiful song- something that has sadly been somewhat lost in mainstream K-pop.  In fact, the whole album seems to have pretty deep lyrics, so I'd say that everyone ought to check it out.

Hope you all love these songs as much as I do, and if you have any non-promoted tracks that you'd like to add, please do.

◀ a BIG to do                                                                          Gaksital Episode 17: Musings et al. ▶

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