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!
It’s been a long and unexpected hiatus (5 months exactly – more on that in an upcoming post). K-pop is a fast moving industry, and most of the groups that I’ve chosen for this post have already made comebacks or are releasing new music imminently.
Just waiting on you, EXO BUT, I’m the type of person who tries to see things through no matter how behind I find myself. Leaving this post out would drive me nuts when I’ve already finished all the others. So, please join me on a blast back to recent past as I celebrate the songs that completely captured my heart in 2017!
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
The MNET Asian Music Awards are finally upon us! The week-long awards started in Vietnam this past weekend, with another show in Japan and the main event in Hong Kong. After over a month of online voting, fans all over the world are waiting to find out which K-Pop acts will come out on top. Many categories are a head-to-head battle between EXO and BTS, but there are so many other questions to answer: Will all the recent hype over BTS in the US affect an Asian awards ceremony? Will EXO manage to grab their fifth daesang for Best Album? With three comebacks each, will TWICE or Red Velvet be named the top girl group of 2017? And after enjoying years of favoritism, will any YG artists get recognized at all? This year’s definitely going to be an interesting one.
Awards season is coming, and the MNET Asian Music Awards (hereafter referred to as MAMA) is kicking things off with a bang! It’s only been two days, and my social media feeds are already filled with people discussing the nominations. As I write this, fans all over the world are diligently trying to get on MNET’s bugging website and vote for their favorites. I’m multifandom, so I’m having a really hard time choosing. Also, my computer seems to hate that site. So I thought I’d do something a little different!
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
I had my suspicions before, but July proved I’m heavily biased towards SM artists. It’s more of a “I like their music/style” thing rather than a “SM is the best/blindly following the company” thing, but there it is. I always try to be diverse, since there are so many other groups out there to love. But when Red Velvet and EXO both had comebacks this month, my preferences were clear. “Red Flavor” and “Ko Ko Bop” were by far my most played songs, and I was way more enthusiastic about them than anyone else. But at the same time, I do think there were several groups that had quality music.
While there were several newer groups like K.A.R.D. that had strong comebacks, February belonged to the heavy hitters. Red Velvet dominated the first half of the month, while top groups of 2016 BTS and Twice battled it out in the second. Powerhouse Taeyeon ended the month on a high note with a solid album. There was a lot going on, but there was a lot to enjoy.
I’m always down for a Red Velvet comeback. They’re not just one of my top girl groups – they’re one of my top K-pop groups period. I wasn’t quite as enamored with “Rookie” as I am with some of their other title tracks, but I think that it does fit well with the signature sound that they’ve established. It’s definitely whimsical and fun, but is that enough?