The Fangirl Lane


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On My Playlist ~ Do or Not [Pentagon]

The beauty of being part of Pentagon’s Universe is knowing that nothing  (and I mean, NOTHING) gets in the way of them releasing consistently good music, especially in the wake of hiatuses. In fact, I am not sure Pentagon even allows the word hiatus into their vocabulary. I suppose therein lies the beauty of a group with many members as, even when one or two are away, the music keeps coming. And let me point out that neither quantity, and more importantly, quality, are ever sacrificed in the wake of it. On March 15th, Pentagon dropped their 11th (yes…11th) mini album, Love or Take, with the effervescent and cheeky title track, Do or Not. And let me tell you, effervescent and cheeky is exactly what I need right now.

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On My Playlist ~ A Song For Me (문제아) [Hong Joochan]

Ugh. The last thing I wanted to happen was to find myself falling into smitten kitten land over yet another artist, but sometimes these situations are unavoidable. It seems someone made a lasting impression on me and it took me all of about a minute to discover that Golden Child main vocalist Hong Joochan had some solo work floating in the K-pop ether waiting for me to collide head and heart into. Fresh from my GolCha Playlist Roulette rant over Without YouI’m back to take an introspective trip with Joochan via his solo digital single, A Song For Me.

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On My Playlist ~ Don⁷t Call Me [SHINee]

On November 15, 2020, SHINee’s tall, lean Marine machine, Minho, was discharged from the military. He was the third member of the group to complete his mandatory service that year; so, in my simple mind that equated to one very important thing: a potential SHINee comeback. Admittedly, as a baby Shawol, this is what I have been eagerly anticipating. The only question, when would it happen? Well, with Minho just barely out of requisite camouflage, the group pulled it off in a matter of three months. And not only that, they managed to release a full album, their seventh. On February 22nd, Don⁷t Call Me dropped with the explosive title track of the same name. Were any of us really ready?

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On My Playlist ~ Encore [GOT7]

Ok, this has to be one of the greatest bait and switch moments recorded in K-pop history. For the K-pop stans out there, can you name any group that fulfills their contractual duty, decides against re-signing with the agency that debuted them, leaves said agency retaining their name, trademarks and the like, begins pursuing individual career opportunities, even signing individual contracts with various agencies; BUT THEN in a month’s time, releases a single complete with MV? If you answered GOT7, you win! The prize? A beautifully Jinyoung-penned declaration to Ahgase worldwide that the next chapter is indeed the group’s Encore. That is, that they are not (nor will they be) leaving the stage, or each other.

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On My Playlist ~ What I Said [Victon]

Letting Victon marinate in all of their underrated talent and finesse was bound to result in an explosive comeback worth waiting for. Releasing their first full length album, Voice: The future is now a mere eleven days into the new year was, in my opinion, strategic and smart. Even though their adoring Alice (the fandom) were expecting a comeback this past December, I think it far better they ushered in a fresh new year with fresh new music, and lots of it. And forget about starting slow and easy. Nope, not with Victon. The title track, What I Said, is a powder keg of sound complete with silky vocals, rapid fire rap (is Hanse even human?), and a whole lot of swag.

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On My Playlist ~ Breath and Last Piece [GOT7]

With so much new music coming out at once, I admit that I have been unable to keep up. In anticipation of GOT7’s November 30th album release, Breath of Love: Last Piece, the group whet appetites with a pre-release track, Breath, on November 23rd. It was then that it truly sunk in how long they had been away, and how much I have missed them. On November 30th, along with the album release, they dropped a second title track, Last Piece, and with that, were officially back. Yes, they have been away, but I easily place this comeback in the worth the wait column.

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On My Playlist ~ Mmmh [Kai]

Woah…woah…woah…WOAH! The new music just keeps coming. This time from EXO’s Kai. This is uncharted territory for me and let me be clear, this is more about Kai the soloist than it is about Kai the member of EXO. You may ask: how can she possibly separate one from the other? Yes, well I have to be 175% honest here. I have kept my distance from EXO for the most part because their fandom terrifies me. However, since warming to Kim Jongin’s best friend, Taemin, and exploring the wild and wonderful world of SuperM, I find myself slowly becoming familiar and more importantly, intrigued by the artist, Kai. As November 2020 came to an end, it was served up with the release of Kai’s first solo album, KAI (开), and with it, a new season began. The title track and introduction to this new release, Mmmh, is a pretty convincing invitation to experience not only the season of Kai but the reason why it is finally his time.

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On My Playlist ~ Be Your Enemy [Taemin]

One afternoon about two years ago, I walked into my meditation room (yeah, I am new-agey like that) and was overcome with an intense floral aroma. It kind of freaked me out because there were no fresh flowers in the room, nor was I burning incense or any candles. I immediately jumped online and called upon the university of Google to ask what the cause of this phenomenon could be. Was I having some kind of existential or out of body experience? Why were the aromatics so intense and so beautiful? One of the reasons the new age professors at Google offered was the presence of an angel or angels in the room. I was completely on board with that and surmised that was the reason. It was brief, intense and to date, has not happened again. But, I kind of have a similar experience when I listen to Taemin’s gentle pop songs and ballads. They offer a fragrance of their very own. Case in point: the winsome and angelic Be Your Enemy.

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On My Playlist ~ NaNaNa [Imfact]

I am so yesterday when it comes to K-pop. In fact, I am more like yesteryear. Hopefully that misfit quality is endearing, and this habit of stumbling across music that is not a product of one of the big three agencies, nor current, is not as uncool as I am apt to sometimes believe. Hehe. Anyway, when a song and I unexpectedly cross paths, I like to think it is fate. Maybe we run into each other at a moment when some emotional rescue is needed; when my drained psyche needs reconstituting or, at the very least, a dance break. Imfact’s NaNaNa with its retro EDM vibe, sweet vocals, and catchy chorus is fresh, fun and very dance break worthy.

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On My Playlist ~ Think of You (안아줄래) [Taemin]

While it is easy to focus on all that went awry and continues to be wrong with 2020, I choose instead to focus on the one thing that single-handedly has saved this difficult year for me: Lee Taemin. Even though the world was pretty much in complete ruin when I woke up to his art and music in August, I think I happened upon Taemin at just the right time. I showed up on the verge of him releasing not one, but three albums (if you count his involvement with SuperM, and I do) which ended up being remedies I never knew I needed. That is, loneliness and isolation in need of comfort, and troubling times in need of a hero. Yes, in many ways, Taemin landed in my realm at the right time; and by way of music, art and his indelible smile, rescued 2020.

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