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Some of you probably noticed that I’ve been M.I.A. for the past couple of weeks, and some of you were probably like “Who?“. In a nutshell, both my laptop and my website broke at the same time, which was fucking annoying but didn’t really surprise me (when it rains, it pours). My homegirl Zainab sorted the site out for me, but it took a while due to some unexpectedly difficult technical issues.

Anyway, I’m back now, but too much time has passed for me to do full-length posts on absolutely everything that I missed. I’ve had a bunch of tweets asking for my thoughts on certain songs though, so I’m just going to do a roundup now on some of the most requested stuff. I’ll spend the rest of the week catching up and posting a few other things I wanted to share (like STELLAR, FKA Twigs, and more), and then get back to normal blogging by next week.

As a longtime KAMILIA I was always behind The KARA Project and thought it was an exciting way to give the group a second wind. With that said, I was pretty disappointed when Youngji, one of the few contestants that I specifically DIDN’T want joining KARA, was appointed the only new member. However, once I experienced the wind machine glamour of “Mamma Mia,” it was hard to find fault with the group’s newest addition.

Youngji doesn’t particularly stand out in the new lineup, but that’s a good thing. She slots in naturally like she’s always been in KARA, which is a big accomplishment when you remember some of the questionable member additions we’ve seen top girl groups go through in the past (Hwayoung and Hye Lim… SMH).

The fact that KARA changed their producer from Sweetune to Duble Sidekick for the first time in six years yet still kept their signature synth-pop sound and feminine concept is a testament to what a strong group KARA really is. So many K-pop stars these days have no identity and just hopscotch between styles trying to find a hit (I’m looking at you, Girl’s Day), but KARA not only have their own niche, but have also managed to evolve and grow without ever having to drastically overhaul their sound or style. That’s pretty fucking amazing.

Also, Hara > Diana Ross >>>>>>>>>>>> Nicole Scherzinger >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Beyonce.

The reason Taemin’s “Danger” is such a fun song is that it’s exactly what Michael Jackson would’ve done at some point over the past five years if he wasn’t a drug-addled loony (and not dead, obviously).

I had a skip through Taemin’s album and it sounded like a few of the other songs were actually stronger than “Danger,” (specifically “Ace,” “Experience,” and “Play Me”), but I’ve still gotta hand it to SM Entertainment for taking overproduced idol dance-pop and making it fun and fresh thanks to some heavy dollops of MJ funk.

My only gripe is that we all know that Yunho is the closest thing to Michael Jackson as a performer that the world has ever seen, so this probably should’ve been his solo single instead of Tae’s, but whatevs. I’ll always have this.

When this song came out I saw a stupid headline on Twitter about it being racist, so I decided not to read any of the reviews or overblown think-pieces that I assume have been flooding the internet since Tay Tay’s return. I mention this to say that I really have no idea what the general opinion of “Shake It Off” is, nor do I care. I only know how I feel about it, which is a little confused.

I know that “Shake It Off” is an incredibly catchy song because I heard it while shopping for a new laptop two weeks ago, and I found myself humming along before I actually realized that it was Taylor Swift, which removed any bias I might have had about Taylor taking the final leap into full-blown pop territory. I also know that despite the reasonably generic production, it’s still more substantial than a Katy Perry record because at least Taylor’s personalized the lyrics to herself rather than offering up Perry-esque one-size-fits-all platitudes. But I’m still confused about who Taylor Swift is as an artist now.

Is Taylor just bravely making commercial art without boundaries, like some kind of Dolly Parton/Madonna hybrid? Or is she just hell-bent on becoming the biggest pop star on the planet, no matter what the cost? Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle? I always felt like Taylor Swift had the potential to become the Stevie Nicks of our generation, and considering that Stevie had many undiluted pop moments throughout her career, the potential is still there. It’s just a little harder to convince myself of it now.

Ultimately I think I like “Shake It Off,” but I also haven’t felt inspired to listen to it unless it’s come up in conversation, or I’ve had to write about it, like now.

Before I truly judge Taylor Swift 2.0, I’m going to need to hear her new album and see where “Shake It Off” fits into all of it. Her poignant country-pop songs and maudlin ballads are what made me a huge fan of hers in the first place, but I’m trying to be open-minded to Taydonna so I don’t become that annoying cynic that missed out on something special. With that said, I will still drag the bitch if 1989 doesn’t deliver.

This is just a “We Speak No Americano” remix with a big fat Ibiza buildup on the chorus. The iconic LPG already did it three years ago with “Angry,” but OC did a good job too.

I’m an OC fan, and I find nothing wrong with this song, but I haven’t bothered downloading it since it dropped and have zero desire to listen to it — and I fucking LOVE the spot-the-difference ‘Where’s Waldo?’ concept. I’m just gonna chalk this one down to me personally not being in the mood for this kind of thing right now, rather than wrongfully accuse OC of having a lackluster comeback.

But that doesn’t change the fact that: “Lipstick” and “A-ing~” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> “My Flopycat.”

This is another song that I like but haven’t downloaded and probably won’t bother listening to again until it resurfaces on an EXID mini-album or something (currently it’s just a digital single).

It sounds like 2NE1 song to the point that you can specifically imagine which 2NE1 member would sing which part as you’re listening to it, but if it were a 2NE1 song, it’d be one of their better offerings.

LE slays. The concept slays. The choreography slays. But I’m still not gonna download it. Blame that on the shout-y Park Bom-y chorus, which just isn’t doing it for me.

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