It’s been a minute, right? The Playlist Roulette series went on a little bit of a hiatus (well, more like I went on a little bit of a hiatus) and that hiatus included a break from listening to my Strictly Korean playlist. But I opened it up today, dusted off the shuffle button, and am pleasantly surprised by the track it welcomed me back with: Crush On You by K-rock, pop and decidedly flower boy band, IZ. When I would go on my Korean music deep dives I rarely did any research on a group if I came across a song I liked. I would put the song on the playlist and carry on with the dive. That is why this series has been both interesting and informative for me personally. It has introduced me to music and groups I would have otherwise never been introduced to. IZ and their B-side (yep, some things never change) from their 2018 Angel EP is a perfect example, and a great way to ease back into this series.
Is there anyone else out there who enjoys interesting backstories to songs or do I ride alone with my quirks? I have to believe there are a few out there and if so, you might enjoy the backstory to this week’s Playlist Roulette pull, Tomorrow X Together’s Fairy of Shampoo from the group’s second EP, The Dream Chapter: Eternity.
With so many comebacks these past few months it has been impossible for me to get up to speed with them all so I guess I will stay out of the mainstream a little while longer. Seems the Playlist Roulette gods feel the same way as they decided upon a light and breezy pop track from a group with a not so light name. Noir’s Think About Chu is a refreshing B-side (yes, more B-sides, can never have enough B-sides) from their 4th EP, Up The Sky : 飛. Initially, I was attracted by the mysterious Noir name, but it did not take me long to discover that this 9-member group is housing some serious vocal talent. The name piqued my interest and invited me in, the talent made me stay.
For someone who has never watched a single episode of any of the The Unit, Under Nineteen, or Produce 101 K-pop group survival programs, I certainly have a wealth of the shows’ alumni populating the Strictly Korean playlist. Late night Apple Music excavations are becoming a ritual fueled by findings such as this week’s Playlist Roulette pull, H&D’s Empty-Handed ~ yep, it’s a B-side from the duo’s first mini album, Soulmate. I think more people should be talking about these two. I’m ready to weigh in.
I think at one time or another we have all felt that if we had that one single person in our lives who was always there, and who always had our backs unconditionally without judgment, that we could do or be anything we wanted. And because of that support and belief, we could make it through even the most arduous and difficult times because in essence, that person believed in us more than we did ourselves. Have you ever felt that or am I the only whimsical weepy one? Ha..maybe it’s just me. But, this is how I feel when I listen to this week’s Playlist Roulette pull, Lee Hongki’s Raise Me Up from the Korean drama Switch OST.
I have to be honest, I am rather enjoying the buried deep in the Strictly Korean playlist pulls these days. Older releases from groups that have not debuted yesterday seems to be somewhat of a perfect fit for an awkward K-pop fan like myself. I may be awkward, but I like to think I have pretty good taste, especially when it deviates from the mainstream. This week, the Playlist Roulette pull decided on Snuper’s upbeat R&B groove, You In My Eyes, the title track from their October 2018 EP release, You In My Eyes (Snuper Special Edition).
If you like Korean R&B as much as I do then it stands to reason you should (and maybe you already do) have Ravi and his gang over at Groovl1n on your radar. I know I am preaching to the Vixx choir, but for a newb like me who stumbled upon Ravi’s Groovl1n label by way of Xydo, I honestly was not too familiar with Ravi the artist. Of course, once Xydo landed in my realm it was only a matter of time Ravi and other Groovl1n family members found their way onto the Strictly Korean playlist and shuffled out a track to be spotlighted. I love that the Playlist Roulette pull this week is Bandi & Luni’s from Groovl1n trio, Ravi, Cold Bay and Xydo because it weds two of my favorite things: Korean R&B and books. Stay with me, I will explain.
This week, the Strictly Korean playlist shuffled out the rather dramatic, dark and haunting B-side, Paranoia, from solo artist Hong Eunki’s first mini album, Undefinable:Love, and I am here for every glorious note of it. Like a mysterious doorway with a dangerous threshold calling to be crossed, Paranoia unwittingly lures with its theatrical undertones, nostalgic sound engineering, and Eunki’s striking and powerful vocals. Intriguing, to say the least.
There are some days when I really consider hanging up my fangirl hat and becoming a food blogger or something completely removed from anything K-pop. But then when Sunday night rolls around I begin to feel an excited anticipation of what the Strictly Korean playlist will shuffle out and challenge me with in the new week. It is then that I realize I am not quite ready to quit K-pop, especially when it navigates me to a group, a song (or both) that I am unfamiliar with but ready to meet. Such is the case with this week’s pull, Golden Child’s EDM-infused Without You.
After a rough week of just too much snow, Arctic temperatures and a should-have-been preventable back injury, I just wanted something light and feel good for this Playlist Roulette offering. When the Strictly Korean playlist digs deep, it digs deep. This week it shuffled out B-side, Universe, from Black6ix’s debut single album, Please, released way back in April 2017; and, it is every bit the refreshing uplifting balm needed to start a new (and hopefully better) week.