We all navigate mid-life crises in a myriad of ways. Some might call my late arrival to the fangirl world of Korean entertainment a crisis of sorts because it gave me full license to return to that 15-year old fangirl who was bursting with enthusiasm and excitement over my favorite group’s next move. I am not going to argue, that’s 100% accurate. Then again, my mid-life has seen me do some truly crazy things. The kind of stuff that would probably make any one of my fangirl adventures pale in comparison. Take for example, the time I decided to take surfing lessons just because I lived a block from the beach. I am not a strong swimmer, but I dared to take on Pacific Ocean waves. It almost cost me my life but after the fact, I chalked it as being a character-building war story, you know, something that would help me take on any kind of wave life would splash in my face. I was wrong and own up to the fact that I was completely unprepared for an unlikely and new kind of wave: WayV.
Where do I begin? I am having a difficult time trying to pull it together long enough to talk about this lovely song, its thoughtful message, and the five talented and charming men behind it. I think if you give A.C.E a chance, you will agree that they bring something a little different to the K-pop table. Their latest, 편지를 써 (Stand By You), really feels like a love letter to their fans (Choice) who they clearly deem a sixth and integral member of the group.
Back in February (which seems like ages ago now) I went to my first of what I thought would be many Kpop concerts in 2020: Stray Kids. I went without knowing anything about them other than they were part of the JYP family. I have been following them since and have to admit that their latest comeback has hit me like a wrecking ball, and that’s a good thing.
Sometimes you have to step away from big agency K-pop and allow yourself to fall in love with something a little off the beaten path. I recently took a detour, found, and fell promptly in love with M.O.N.T. And oh my, they certainly turned out to be the mood-lifting breath of fresh air I have obviously been craving.
I know. I KNOW! It has been 8 years since Nu’est debuted. And I know I am coming to the party late. LATE! But the fact of the matter is, I am here and their latest release has my full attention. And once something catches my attention, the research begins and I travel back in time to become acquainted with something I probably should have checked out years prior. It’s how I roll lately. I guess I am a late K-pop bloomer but I am sure JR, Aron, Baekho, Minhyun, and Ren would be thrilled that I love the title track, I’m In Trouble off of their 8th mini-album, The Nocturne. It seems rather serendipitous don’t you think, that I am discovering Nu’est with such excited interest now in what is their 8th year with their 8th mini-album? The K-pop gods always have a plan!
Ever since I have expanded my Korean music listening experience beyond K-pop and, specifically, towards Korean R&B, I have been low-key keeping tabs on music crews who roll in that lane. Why? Because on occasion those crews have ties to K-pop idols who ride among them. This is how I became acquainted with vocalist Xydo and his latest (and first) EP release, X.
“O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.”
GOT7 is back and they are more romantic than ever. All I have to say to that is this: I would gladly be Juliet to any one of these seven Romeos and willingly surrender myself to the apothecary of music and visuals they are serving up in their latest release, Not By The Moon.
If you were to ask me one word to describe the Korean group, Winner, I would say FAMILY. I would challenge anyone to show me a closer-knit group. To me, Winner has elevated past the general colleague-based relationship most professional groups have. Moreover, this feeling of family is not exclusive to the group itself. No. I think the group’s fandom Inner Circle would agree that it not only encompasses the relationship Yoon, Jinu, Hoon and Mino have with each other but, that it also extends further to their fans. Winner’s latest, the title track Remember on their newly released full album, brings the family together, soothes my fangirl heart, and waxes nostalgic in a way only Winner can.
When I said I was opening up to other artists, somehow I knew I would end up somewhere east of the eclectic highway. I never thought it would mean getting lost on Bang Yongguk’s Orange Drive, but indeed it was . . . and I am loving it.
Listening to Jackson Wang’s recently released single Bullet To The Heart solidifies the fact that GOT7 will not, nor probably ever will, let me settle on a bias in the group. And, I’m okay with that.
On 20 September, Jackson returned to social media after a short hiatus to begin promoting his upcoming solo album, Mirrors, with news of a single from that album being released in the coming days. On 24 September when Bullet To The Heart dropped, I was intrigued, ripe with anticipation, and looking forward to what Team Wang was going to bring. I have to say, the song successfully whet my appetite. I want more. Moreover, I feel the new song is just scratching the surface of something really big coming our way and I can only hope I will be prepared.