It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s take a look at some new releases!
LE SSERAFIM – Perfect Night
Someone was asking me the other day “the new Le Sserafim video has twerking in it but one of the girls is underage, how do you feel about that” and then I watch the video and it’s not even a fucking twerk. This limp ass-wave is so bland that it’s almost anti-sexual, if someone did this to me while lapdancing I’d ask for my Crazy Horse Dollars back. Yes we should all be rightly concerned about k-pop companies coercing minors into doing creepy shit, but k-pop fans are increasingly looking for fire where there’s no smoke and sounding like the Christian parents of Elvis fans who couldn’t handle his hip-thrusting ‘corrupting the youth’, making a big fuss about a little deal in order to divert suspicion away from their own secret behaviour. If we really care about kids, perhaps we should start worrying about their musical diet instead, and how HYBE has flicked Le Sserafim’s core sound to the curb in favour of yet another NewJeans-lite track, like we needed another one of those in 2023. Someone think of the children.
Jessi – Gum
The best Jessi track in nearly forever thanks to the pace and old-school breakbeat textures, even if it shoots itself in the foot by constantly dropping to half time. Jessi will show you impressionable youth what actual twerking and sexual dog-whistling looks like.
RIIZE – Talk Saxy
I’ll give credit to SM for giving their new boy group an actual name instead of something from a random password generator website. Next on the list might be giving them a song, who knows, we might get lucky. In the meantime, the sax riff is here as advertised but it’s not strong enough to carry the entire track on its own, take it away and there’s not much else here to get excited about.
Taemin – Guilty
Deep, heavy and dark, but I wish it was even deeper, heavier and darker. It’s still a good effort anyway, with Taemin’s vocal improvisations actually fitting in really well due to the meatier-than-usual sonics giving him enough space to insert them without cluttering everything up.
Kwon Eunbi feat. Paul Blanco – Like Heaven
Since this song is super-uninteresting in every way, I’d just like to use this space to say I hope you’re enjoying the new look and feel of this website, after eight years of the same theme I thought it was time for a change. If you want to know why it changed, what the options were, or what people thought about the options presented in drafts, you can click here for the results of the survey I did with readers – thanks to all readers who had a say in what they liked! I’m still tidying things up so there might be some minor tweaks in the near future.
Chuu – Hitchhiker
Not up to the standard of “Howl” but when you girlfriend brings you home takeaway but it’s not the flavour you like you can’t exactly be mad.
NiziU – Heartris
Starts off great with some very cool synth work, but the chorus is just a confused mess of blues scales and overdone brassiness that leeches all the catchiness out of the song. Some really good ideas here totally wasted.
ILY:1 – To My Boyfriend
If ILY:1 want to maintain the relationship they can stop remaking old Fin.K.L songs.
HEARTSTEEL feat. Baekhyun, Tobi Lou, OZI and Cal Scruby – Paranoia
The usual League Of Legends juvenile power-fantasy nonsense with maybe about 5% more yoloswag this time. No wonder people act like such toxic shitheads in the game, they hear songs like this with their weak-ass kiddie “I don’t follow rules, man” vibe and think that must mean “pick Yasuo, feed mid, blame support”.
GHOST9 – Ruckus
Not much ruckus to be found here.
XODIAC – Only Fun
K-pop tries to do a soundalike of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” for the 235th time, but k-pop never, ever gets this feel right, because what made the original song work was exactly the type of rough edges that the idol system completely forbids.
MIRAE – Drop The Bass
Another “self MV”, so you can pretty much safely disregard the music because if it was any good they would have made the effort to make a proper video. (Doesn’t apply to nugus with no budget, but for anything at C-tier or above where the cash is there, make a video or you’re not trying…)
JUST B – Youth
And now the ‘special’ videos. Any ‘special’ video isn’t.
ONE PACT – G.O.A.T
I’d make a pact with a goat to stop songs like this from being created.
ONE PACT – Hot Stuff
Their other song is better because at least the riffs are cool, and I actually like the location choice. There’s plenty of dingy highways boy groups can dance in the median strips of and hopefully not get hit by vans driven by k-pop group managers, why they don’t get utilised more often I don’t know.
DV.OL – Journey
Yes the era of box videos being the main thing is definitely over, they’re almost retro at this point. If the Paradise Diner is booked out, your friend’s garage is fine for that dance video these days.
V – Slow Dancing (FRNK Remix)
Beyond lazy and awful, not really worth going into detail as to why as it’s fairly self-evident. Anything with ‘remix’ in the title i s usually a warning sign.
Banduni – Paranbam
Ex-AOA’s Youkyoung is the drummer in this group, plus it’s an upbeat song with distorted guitars and even a guitar solo… and to top it all off at 1:58 there’s the Roly Poly hand dance. What a combination. I feel like I’ve been target-marketed to here. They are definitely all Kpopalypse readers and they are doing what it takes to get a good review on kpopalypse.com, I salute them.
Hi-Fi Un!corn – U&I
This one has the guitar solo but not any of the other good points, so it’s not really a pass. If you’re into boys wearing white fluffy outfits this might be your speed though.
Catch The Young – Cactus Boy
I was expecting an MNET-friendly ‘healthy porn’ disaster with a group name like that, but instead it’s some bland christian rock type stuff, I’m not sure if I should be grateful or even more scared.
FL1X – Like A Fool
I’ll definitely be giving this one the flix.
LA POEM – Fallen Leaves
Such powerful voices, such boring music.
Mark Tuan – Fallin’
They’re trying to pretend it’s somewhere different with all those outdoor location shots, but I know the inside of the Paradise Diner when I see it. I’d talk about the song, but since whenever I talk about a song people say “I ain’t reading all that” I’ll just say that I thought the video dance-off was cool and it appealed to my 30 year old gay twink demographic.
B.I – Loved
I think there’s been some computer-smoothing done on this video because everyone looks like an AI avatar for some reason. It’s really getting to that stage where the real people and the CGI are meeting in the middle of the uncanny valley.
DAWN – Abyss
Definitely the closest thing Dawn has had to an actual song that I can think of.
Do Hanse feat. BIGONE – Gummy Bear
Watch quickly at 1:49 and you get to see how Bom’s jelly snacks are made.
Seoul Magic Club – Love Elements
Nobody does this type of sound better than Seoul Magic Club right now. If you’re into the My Bloody Valentine style sonic wash this is as good as it gets.
Seoul Magic Club – Dreamers
They’re not quite as arresting when they take the fuzz pedals off unfortunately.
Seoul Magic Club – Mahdism
Nor are they as good when they’re in instrumental mode, although the manic noise nature of this is appreciated.
Lim Na Young – WOW
Wow, it’s a complete ripoff of Twice’s “What Is Love” right down to the harmony and vocal meter. Oh well, kids gotta start somewhere I guess.
Giriboy – What Should I Do
Stop making music would be a good start, but since you probably won’t, here’s our black music feature instead! Rolling Stone recently released their greatest 250 guitarists of all time list and there were some good players in it, but of course they included a bunch of lame strummers who can barely play three chords just because it makes them look ‘inclusive’, and meanwhile left out tons of great guitarists including Greg Howe. Never fear as there won’t be such neglect by Kpopalypse, please enjoy this video of Greg Howe playing better than any of us ever will.
iiso – Black Diamond
A cool groove in the verse, but a weak chorus kind of ruins it. Oh well, it looks cool.
HYPNOSIS THERAPY – Jongno
Ahhhh it’s fucking mental, I dig it. Taking me back to the days when fast beats in rap weren’t a crime.
Bryan Chase feat. Okasian – Restart It
Unfortuantely everything else sounds like this these days. Can we pick up the pace a bit, damn.
FilmSound, Kim Yuna – Sweet & Salty
Not a great song but I don’t mind the vibes after scouring through 57 rappers all trying to out-badass each other and deleting them from roundup.
Dept feat. Ashley Alisha, J.O.Y – Stupid
Watch out, this video with all its kissing scenes might be a bit racy for all you conservative weak k-pop listening fucks. Better avert your eyes, dickheads.
Boramiyu – Heart Flower
My girlfriend is house-sitting for her mother right now and she asked me to look after the house plants while she was gone, but after listening to this I just want to let them die, fuck it. When she comes back and is mad I’ll just tell her it was Boramiyu’s fault and play her this shit song and she’ll be like “yeah I would have done the same”.
KOLAVO – Say Sorry
There’s something about the sense of humour here that just sails right past me. But then, same applies to roundup for a lot of my readers, I guess, so fair’s fair.
HOLY SHIT PEOPLE IN KOREA ARE FINALLY LEARNING HOW TO USE THE SHURE SUPER 55 CORRECTLY SECTION
verycoybunny – Now Or Never
Not wild about this song but I stan correct-microphone-use-girl.
Bandi – Catch me
Oh and this guy’s got it right too. Korea gets it wrong so often that I’m taking this as evidence that this guy and the girl from verycoybunny are dating.
Soombee – COCO AH
Although if there is a love triangle involved I reckon the singer here is part of it.
Dept feat. Kelsey Kuan – Autumn Night
Okay okay, not really. They just are getting it right now. What took everyone so long?
Rockit Girl – Romance Island
I’d like to think that after I told Rockit Girl, they spread the word and told everyone else. Not that they’re even using a mic in this video, Leeseul has transcended the use of microphones, which is pretty neat.
BONUS RANDOM VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
(G)I-dle try not to sing and dance to 2010 k-pop and pop hits
Minnie and Shuhua are now my official biases in the group because they refused to sing or dance to Drake. Good work, girls – that’s the way.
Grimes and Aespa Go Deep on AI, Avatars, and the Art of the Music Video
I don’t have time to watch 20 minutes of Grimes and Giselle high-fiving and awkwardly going “you’re awesome!” “No, YOU’RE awesome!” for the cameras, I just put this here because I thought maybe some of you might be interested in it and not aware that this little soiree happened.
Wonder Girls – 2 Different Tears
“2 Different Tears” never sat with me as well as “Tell Me” or “So Hot” even though it has got a lot of the same good sonic qualities as those songs and is a decent song overall. The main problem with it is the layered vocals. The vocal improvisations in the chorus dominate so much that they’re hard to differentiate from the actual melody at times. The appealing sparseness of the backing track is also lost in all the extra vocal layers, making all the vocal wank a double-fuckup that does a lot of damage. It’s still more good than bad but it’s definitely the weakest of all the Wonder Girls feature tracks from their peak pre-American excursion era.
That’s all for this week! Kpopalypse roundup returns next week!