Kpopalypse roundup – new k-pop releases 9/10/2023

It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s take a look at some new releases!

Blackpink in your area… well, more pink than black this time around, I guess. Hey, Lisa made her mum proud and that’s what matters.

Jennie – You & Me

Apparently a track sitting in the vault for longer than usual that’s only just been thrown out there, and it shows, with YG sounding a bit more behind music fashion than normal. It’s not awful but I’d expect this sort of follow-the-bouncy-ball stuff from their competitors. Jennie looks as tired of it as we are.

IVE – Off The Record

A really great song, that sounds like a slowed-down, funked-up “After Like“. The only problem is, those two changes aren’t improvements. Taken as a standalone song it’s excellent, but if you already know that “After Like” exists you might as well just go and listen to that instead.

(G)I-DLE – I Want That

Fantastic sounds paired to a song that’s barely even there, a common problem in k-pop where the track writer nails it but the topliner just doesn’t have a clue what to do with what they’ve been handed. I don’t know who wrote this track but if Soyeon wrote both parts perhaps she has a split personality.

Lim Young Woong – Do Or Die

Here’s a rare song with the opposite problem to (G)I-dle this week – here we have some absolutely dogshit sonic choices that sound straight out of my gym’s PA system, but the melody and harmony writing is decent enough to save the day.

NewJeans & League of Legends – Gods

Did you know they’re hyping this as “the first K-pop group in the game’s history to provide a song” for League Of Legends when K/DA exists? (And I know what you’re thinking, but the K/DA wiki describes K/DA as a “virtual k-pop group” so that’s good enough for me.) Sadly, NewJeans’ songwriters bring none of their quirky upbeat flair to this project and the result just ends up sounding like the same old funeral-tempo power-fantasy nonsense that Riot Games always goes for.

NCT 127 – Fact Check

Melody writers without a clue once again, forcing major scale notes over a phrygian riff like idiots. If they doubled down on the sound of the backings we could have had a “Zero For Conduct” style banger here, but they didn’t, so we don’t.

NCT 127 – Angel Eyes

The other song is a bit better because at least everything matches for tone. It’s not bad even if it spends far too long in handclap-land.

ONF – Love Effect

Hey this is pretty good, but I guess since it’s not from one of the three or four really popular boy groups right now, nobody will give a fuck.

Jini – Bad Reputation

Jinni from NMIXX couldn’t work it out with JYP, who knows why (maybe she wanted a whole hard boiled egg per day instead of just half), but like a lot of people who leave big companies she didn’t bring the songwriters with her.

ALVN feat. Youha – Onemorenight

Normally I’d say this isn’t eligible for inclusion at all, but I’m putting it in just to alert you all as we only get about five seconds of Youha content every year.

Choa, Juncoco – Butterfly

Mind you that’s more than the four seconds of Choa content we typically get, and we really do only get not much more than four seconds of screentime in this video. As for the song it’s alright until that stupid rhythm change in the chorus that just fucks everything up for no reason.

EPEX – Full Metal Jacket

EPEX have dishonored themselves with this crappy song, and dishonored the entire k-pop industry! I have tried to help them by writing brutally honest roundup reviews, but I have failed! I have failed because you readers have not helped me! You people have not given EPEX the proper motivation! So, from now on, whenever EPEX fucks up, I will not punish them, I will punish all of you! And the way I see it, ladies, you owe me for one shit comeback!

82MAJOR – Sure Thing

I saw this and expected it to be nugu but no, they already have more than a million views at the time of writing so I’m clearly just out of the loop. The song’s pretty nice actually, even if the grimy washed-out video doesn’t seem to match the mood of it at all (no prizes for guessing what influenced that).

JUST B – Medusa

It’s okay. Actual beats are coming back. We like this. Extra points for having a guitar solo.

POW – Amazing

If you’ve got to say “so amazing” all the time, you must be trying to prove something that isn’t real.

Universe Ticket – Universe

Oh look it’s another one of those dumb, cruel and stupid k-pop survival “reality” shows that nobody cares about. You won’t be suckered into following what happens in it episode by episode by a bunch of dumb websites by any chance? Of course not, you’re too smart for that. I have faith.

Juniel – 3 things that I want to give you

Keep your three things, please. If you don’t want them just drop them at your recycling center.

Yesung – Scented Things

What scented things could he be singing about? Incense? Scented candles? The musty smell of the decrepit, decaying, unwashed people who actually listen to music like this for any purpose other than mockery? You be the judge.

Jueun – Paradise

This is where members of C-list groups go to retire – sitting-down land.

Wony & Yeonseo – Wind

Check out how awkward they look. I hope you’re not taking this seriously because they sure aren’t. You just know that when the cameras stop rolling they both burst out laughing about how hammy and overacted the whole thing is.

The Rose – Wonder

Yes the world is in a bit of a tumultuous state right now but don’t worry The Rose is here to fix it by making people stand together in a circle with flags or something. That’ll definitely solve decades of conflict in the world’s hot conflict zones this week.

DPR IAN – Don’t Go Insane

I’m really trying to hold onto my sanity this week but these shit songs are pushing me close to the edge. Anyway I don’t have much else interesting to say so it’s a good time to remind you that the latest Kpopalypse survey is now LIVE and CLOSING IN A FEW DAYS so CLICK HERE and take the survey while you can! Also don’t forget the bonus round! Thanks, caonimas!

NSW Yoon feat. Jay Park – Drip Too Wet

Jay still owes my girlfriend a bottle of soju. Make that two bottles for this crap.

Parkmoonchi with George – J U S T F U N

This is a pretty convincing retro sound but the song isn’t there. Some disco beats and grainy ass video footage isn’t enough, we need a song also.

HYNN – As Autumn Brings Cold Wind

One thing these boring ballad videos are good for is that they love putting up the Hangul text in exact time with the vocal syllables for some reason so it’s a good opportunity to get your Korean pronunciation right if you’re into learning languages while you listen to shit music.

BIG Naughty – Rock The Cup

I don’t know what e-sport team this is for but I guess credit to them for not going the Riot Games power-fantasy epic slow funeral march of doom snorefest route I guess. Even if the alternative isn’t exactly great.

Skyminhyuk – Liberation

Generic rap stuff doesn’t deserve your attention so instead let’s have our weekly black music feature! Someone suggested Hope Tala for this feature so I checked her out and… she’s very cool and worth your time. She definitely has an excellent handle on melody-writing that really complements the laid-back music. While it’s clear that she can improvise way into la-la land, she generally keeps things on a tight leash. That’s half of the reason why the Korean versions of this type of thing suck so much – everyone’s so concerned with “looking good” and “proving they have ability” instead of just letting the song do the talking, like it does here.

Lilly Eat Machine – Bubblegum Disorder

Korea gets the texture of this type of music right nearly 100% of the time, but the actual songs right almost never.

Ssup feat. Trilla Gang – If not, never mind

It’s the “rapping in front of an old building means we’re very cultured, you can trust us” technique, also know as “doing an Agust D”. Which is as good a signal to end roundup here as any other.


NMIXX – Super Hero

Listen to how good the middle part of “O.O” sounds without the stupid bits at the start and end shitting it up. It’s actually, like, a proper song – amazing. This is what we could have had as a full feature track, but instead we have to settle for this live version recorded on someone’s phone with muddy sound and most of the girls looking a bit lost on stage.  All the proof you need that stage presence in k-pop is really not a thing. Only Lily seems to look even slightly comfortable but that could be my natural Australian bias showing.

Aespa Winter guitar solo

Because I’ve been getting asked this question once every two weeks for the last six months, yes Winter can play the electric guitar, and no, she is not playing it live in this video. She’s doing a pretty good job of pretending to play it, and she definitely knows how to play it plus is playing the solo generally correctly, but the sound you’re hearing isn’t her. The giveaway is at 0:38 where she forgets to do the downward slide at the end of the note that’s on the recording. So either she recorded it herself before the event and is just miming along to the playback, or someone else did. The guitar is a Jackson Kelly as seen here. You’re welcome.

Kim Choo Ja – On The Beach At Dusk

I’m told this is “the oldest k-pop video ever” but I sincerely doubt that, anyway if Serge Gainsbourg was female and not a pedophile maybe he would have sounded a bit like this.

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