arcadey feature
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.

shrug gif

  • Marhaebwa

    Girl, your abrupt involuntary hiatus killed me…Glad you back!!

    Anyway, I was specifically surprised with how well Youngji fit into the group. I don’t care – KARA slayed this promotional, if only WINNER didn’t come out then, they would have sweeping shows with the poufy weave of Kween Hara Goo!!

    Also, this is gonna be random but I’d just like to hear your thoughts on the whole fiasco of EunB’s passing this week. It’s all so sad for Ladies’ Code right now. They were going somewhere and becoming something and now this…I had to hold back tears man.

  • 364Leinad

    I really couldn’t give to shits about what Taylorsus Christ is doing with her image so long as the songs are good. Though I would be happy if she stuck with pop because despite being infinity inferior to its Korean counterpart its the only music genre which the Western Industry hasn’t completely fucked up beyond repair. Mamma Mia is okay, I just really cannot stand Duble Sidekick. Can You Love Me is their only good song. My Flopycat and Gangnam Ave are both shit compared to Catellena, but then again, so is just about every other song in history, because Catellena is LIFE! EXID’s comeback is the best out of these. It’s been my obsession ever since it came out.
    Who is Taemin?

  • Quang Phạm

    I just love how Duble Sidekick keeps the signature sounds of KARA and SECRET, unlike Brave Brothers who always make every group the same thing.

  • Dhruv Angrup

    yunho is nothing like mj even though he’s a great dancer…..taemin is closer to mj as far as vibes go
    but in the end,
    mj>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..(1million years later)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.taemin,yunho,other kpop idols

    • Gurl take a seat!

      Yunho is known as MJ’s Korean rep. Yunho was officially selected as Korea’s representative for MJ’s This Is It concert. And Yunho even performed Michael Jackson’s hits while ICE SKATING on a reality show.

      Taemin could never. Even MJ couldn’t perform half the choreography that Yunho does, even though MJ is obviously more talented overall since he co-wrote and co-produced his music.

      Anyway, everyone knows PRINCE >>>>> MJ, Janet, and Yunho.

      • Dhruv Angrup

        prince is way too pretentious and a douche for me to put him above mj…………..

        • Prince is a true artist and genius not pretentious, just eccentric. And he can get away with any attitude he has because he’s insanely talented. If you look at all the hugest most iconic pop stars ofall time Prince is pretty much the only one that could do everything himself. While others used producers, even MJ, you could lock Prince in a room and he could still write, produce, compose, and perform most of his biggest hits all on his own without any help. Everything from the vocals to the lyrics to the individual playing of each instrument Prince can do.

          • Dhruv Angrup

            and how does that make him better than MJ??? He has some great songs(most of them in 80s when he worked under warner records) but he sucked ass in later years
            I don’t give a crap about how much of a true artist Prince is but what i do care about is who had better releases and was a better entertainer,performer and MJ beats Prince to the pulp in both those areas :)

          • Hell no. Prince is a better, or at least equal performer to MJ. They both had diff styles, Mj more of a dancer and Prince more of a musician.

            And I think Prince had better songs, especially if you count all the stuff he wrote and produced for other artists. Prince’s music was much riskier and less commercial and more interesting. MJ’s music was amazing too tho. Tbh they both slayed

          • qalifa

            Prince is nothing compared to MJ. MJ has the full package and he made the pop industry the way it is. The whole of POP industry and KPOP would not be the way it is now if it weren’t for him.

          • But how can MJ be the full package, over Prince, when Prince could do so much more than MJ could? LOL.

          • qalifa

            LOL well Prince is only 4fit short LMAO and he can’t dance at all! how can a midget dance? So u can’t count him as a dancer so that is one less thing he can do than MJ. :D

          • Girl have you never seen purple rain?

      • qalifa

        Yunho is a great dancer but I agree Taemin is closer to MJ as far as vibes and everything else go. heehee.

  • Db

    Slightly disappointed you didn’t really enjoy OC’s and EXID’s releases. Bom wishes she could hit those notes.

  • Egbutts Egbust

    Solji’s face is quite puffy in this comeback. Junghwa is as flawless as ever, people weren’t seeing her and thought of her as basic until this comeback, where she completely slayed the competition and reaffirmed why she is the groups visual.

    For me; Mamma Mia > Up and down >>>My Copycat >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Danger > Shake it Off.

  • johnnybravo831

    KARA really stepped up their live vocal game this round, too. I was mad skeptical going in but found myself loving everything about Mamma Mia. Hara and Seungyeon turned that shit OUT.

  • Nicole Naeun

    1. Hwayoung was a questionable member addition? Umm.. no, she was an iconic addition to T-ara. Maybe you meant devil-worshipper 666 ghost-nut Ahreum.

    2. Danger is such a SHINee leftover I can’t be bothered to listen to it. Why would you go solo and do the exact kind of music that your group does?

    3. I totally agree on the TayTay thing. I’m just glad she’s not being a pretentious shit about it and went 100% honest that she wants to do a pop album now. I don’t really feel the song but like you, I’ll wait for the album. Cuz I hated We Are… so much at first but then it became one of my faves from the Red album after seeing it in album context.

    4. Fuck EXID for copying FIESTAR’s iconic MV concept with a shitty song. #DisbandEXID

  • niyahhill

    Why the hell did exid just try to copy ciara promise dance moves and think I wouldnt notice????

  • hell yes on KARA… both “mamma mia” and “day&night” album feel like nothing has happened to them this year.

    i really didn’t follow the kara project [nor i follow any korean variety show for that matter] so i can’t have an opinion about youngji except that she’s pretty competent.

    and WOW mamma mia! again what a song!! the choreography is fantastic where they finally look like the goddesses they are! it feels like “pandora” but even more dancey. and no other group owns hair flip like kara.

    i’m a total suck up for orange caramel so i totally love “my copycat” and cry every night on my pillow for its flopage. besides, their live concepts are the most entertaining thing on all of k-pop this year. PERIOD.

    exid’s up & down was suuuch a disappointment because it came out of the no-fucking-where! no promo tease or anything and goddamit these girls have been out of scene for more than a year! they deserved better even if i like the song.

    and speaking of disappeared things, has evol disbanded? lol

  • KingBeaArthur

    1. I’m absolutely OBSESSED with “Mamma Mia”! The production is killer (shocked the hell out of me to learn it was a Duble S. track! Perfect recreation of the Sweetune sound, and once again proves DS are one of the best production teams working in KOR today!), the choreography is fun, Youngji is holding her own, and Princess Hara is regulating like a goddamn champ! I mean… everything!

    2. I love Taemin but I just can’t muster the strength to really invest in his debut. Maybe months from now.

    3. …eh. As long as she’s having fun.

    4. I reallllly wanted to love this song, and I do, but…IDK. I think it was the timing of its release. I have SISTAR & KARA killing me right now; there’s no room at the inn for OC! All that said: the ‘Where’s Waldo’ concept is beyond brilliant!!! I could watch the mv over & over and never get bored!

    5. I love the song, I love the mv (even though it’s “Pretty Pretty” meets “Dream Girl” meets “One More” in terms of aesthetic, with an inept magician theme sprinkled on top), and I love EXID! Best part of this comeback (other than LE getting her shit together & slaying properly) is the amount of phallic symbols in the mv!! I see you EXID.. welcome back, babies!

  • Quang Phạm

    Up&Down’s Youtube comment:
    “If you notice the spotted bananas in the mv, it represents that tiger
    dude with the hat. Towards the end of the video it starts showing a
    banana half peeled (representing his hard penis). Than it shows the
    banana coming out of the skin (having an orgasm). And now the banana is
    cut in half or half its size, with the poison representing the girl who
    was licking it earlier (giving a blowjob). They also showed the balloons
    slowly deflating towards the end too, that’s what happens to a penis
    after a man has an orgasm. And now the tiger is basically dead at the
    end laying on the ground next to the poison. The poison could mean he’s
    laying on the ground dead, asleep, exhausted, or whatever, because his
    “sexual energy” was killed. Its really creative and artistic who ever
    designed the MV if you think about it.”

  • Sunny

    i don’t even have to say anything cause you said it all already and i agreed lol

    my only gripe with Taemin was that gross Nose piercing with a chain attached.

    my only differing opinion would be that EXID’s comeback track was seriously lackluster compared to their past tracks.