In the years since I’ve discovered K-pop, I’ve been lucky to attend a fair amount of concerts. They’re usually on the smaller side in terms of venues (the downside of being a Western fan), and I’ve always been impressed by how the fans’ excitement makes everything seem so much bigger. But there’s nothing quite like sitting in a giant stadium surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, is there? I thoroughly enjoy going to see any K-pop concert, but KCON New York was an especially magical time. There’s just something about seeing so many great acts in one place – especially if some of them are your faves!
At this point, KCON New York happened a full month ago… yet I still find myself thinking about it every day. There’s so much to share that I’m making several posts, but I think covering the convention is a good place to start! This was the first time I’ve been to such a large scale K-pop event, so I was really looking forward to seeing and doing everything KCON had to offer. Since it was my first time, I decided to give some basic information and my general impressions for people who are thinking of going next year – or for people who already went and want to compare notes!
Okay, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: there are a bunch of boy groups in this post. Apparently, this is the part where I decided to put all the comebacks that have attractive men with intense auras. (Fortunately, the rest of the Top 50 will be more diverse!) I tried to be as articulate as usual, and not just write fancy versions of “OMG I love [insert group name here]” or “[Insert bias name here] is so attractive.” I think I did pretty well, but I’ll still warn you that the fangirl in me might occasionally take over. Continue reading
About a year ago, I kicked off this blog with my 50 favorite K-pop songs of 2016 listed by season. This time, I decided it would be fun to do an “official” ranking. So, I grabbed a set of index cards and wrote down all the songs I wanted to talk about… only to end up with 100 tracks instead of the planned 50. I change my favorites constantly, so I probably should have known how it would go. After all, this is what happens when you’re unapologetically multifandom. I eventually narrowed my choices down to a Top 50, but I decided to make the extra effort and do a “bonus” post. I wanted to share the other songs I liked, and it’s always important to promote good music!
September started off what is turning out to be a long string of boy group comebacks, and my tastes are reflected accordingly. I really do try to stay balanced and listen to both girl and boy groups, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always work out. I confess that I spent most of my attention on EXO and BTS: the former because they’re my favorite group, and the latter because I was really impressed with their latest music. However, many groups reminded me that I shouldn’t be forgetting about them either.
August was hectic, and October and November are shaping up to be just as wild. So September provided a nice little breather! Things were on the lighter side, but there were still plenty of comebacks to enjoy. I’ll admit I spent most of my time fangirling over EXO and BTS, but some of my other favorite groups came back with some quality music.
This was a crazy month for K-Pop. There was so much going on it took me all the way through September to catch up! It’s probably because I spent most of August focusing on SNSD’s 10th anniversary and Wanna One’s debut, but there were plenty of great new releases. Sometimes these posts are biased because I just keep mentioning the same groups over and over again…but this time I’m going to try and cover as many as I can!
On September 20, digital music platform Soribada hosted their first ever BEST K-MUSIC AWARDS. Eligible songs were from September 2016 to August 2017, with online voting starting in July.
New Korean Wave Producer Award: Iggy Youngbae (I assume for a GFriend song)
New Korean Wave Music Video Award: Zanybros (I’m not sure if they were nominated for a specific MV, but they worked with many of the artists that were there: B.A.P., Mamamoo, GFriend, KNK, Wanna One)
New Korean Wave Music Star Award: Sonamoo and KNK
New Korean Wave OST Award: Ailee, “I Will Go to You Like the First Snow” (Goblin)
New Korean Wave Rookie Award: Pentagon and Wanna One
New Korean Wave Popularity Award: EXO
New Korean Wave Icon Award: Red Velvet
New Korean Wave Trot Award: Tae Jin Ah and Hong Jin Young
New Korean Wave Global Achievement Award: Eru
New Korean Wave Photogenic Award: DIA
New Korean Wave Rising Hot Star Award: WJSN and Wanna One
New Korean Wave Voice Award: Han Dong Geun
New Korean Wave Performance Award: NCT 127 and gugudan
New Korean Wave Artist Award: BTS (not in attendance)
2017 SOBA 11 (aka the Bonsang Prizes): Hwang Chi Yeul, T-ara, BTOB, EXO, Vixx, B.A.P., Mamamoo, Red Velvet, GFriend, Monsta X, Twice
Digital Daesang: Twice
Daesang (grand prize): EXO
I was originally going to do a recap, but there wasn’t all that much to sum up. Groups won awards, gave speeches, and performed their latest hits; there weren’t any special stages or collaborations. And all the artists stayed backstage, so it’s not like I can comment on their reactions to each other. Also, the streaming on V-Live was terrible. There was this weird echo/loop on the audio for the first thirty minutes, and the image kept cutting out or going out of sync. I know it’s a first time show, but those are some serious growing pains.
I’m not sure how much of a big deal these awards are or will be, especially compared to long-standing shows like MAMA, Melon, or Gaon Chart. It’s kind of strange that certain habitual award recipients like BTS, GOT7, BLACKPINK (and/or any YG artist), and Seventeen are nowhere to be seen. (BTS literally just started their comeback and they did send an acceptance speech, but it’s still a little weird) And to be honest, I don’t know what half of those awards mean or what the criteria was for deciding any of them. But I’m really impressed with the diversity of the artists they awarded. They’re mostly all groups big in the last five years, but there’s still a wide variety. And I’m really happy with the attention they gave to all those rookies. They all deserve more recognition, and I’m glad they got it. I’ll be interested to see if Soribada does this again next year and how it will be – hopefully a better streaming experience!
Sources: V-Live, Soompi, Wikipedia
June is my favorite month! To be fair, that’s really because I was born in June (Gemini all the way, baby). It’s probably because I’m biased, but it always seems like only good things happen this month. And June has given me some of my absolute favorite K-pop songs. While I favored some of the up and coming rookies, a lot of older groups also came out with some catchy music that intrigued me. And there were a lot of upbeat dance tracks, which are my favorite kind.
Oh my gosh, May feels like forever ago. K-pop moves so darn fast. There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the beginning (because of elections?), but the last week brought a whole rush of comebacks that threw me off schedule. I considered skipping this post altogether because it’s been so long, but ultimately my
perfectionism need to be consistent won out. Plus there were a lot of great songs this month. May may not have had a lot of new music, but there was a lot of diversity. All of my favorite songs this month are very different in terms of sound, and I’m loving it.