[MV] SUPER JUNIOR DONGHAE&EUNHYUK – Oppa, Oppa (Japanese Ver.)

Considering how popular Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seems to be (you have no idea how much this legitimately baffles me) if Japan don’t lap this crap up I will genuinely be surprised.  

I first became acquainted with Oppa Oppa when I saw a fancam of Donghae’s Super Show 4 solo (shockingly—read: obviously—featuring Eunhyuk) on YouTube. I said it then and I’ll say it again now—Oh dear Lord what were they thinking? Despite the copious numbers of WTFs floating around in my head, I still followed each and every one of Donghae&Eunhyuk’s Korean promotions during December last year. The single has since been ported across to Japan so could this be the start of a new Super Junior sub-group? Oh God I hope not. But I kind of do.

All ridiculousness aside, I love this song. Why? I have no convincing answer for you aside from the fact it’s just so stupid it works. That and it’s catchy as hell. I can’t even give the song itself a proper review because I don’t even know where to begin. All I can say is there is no one more perfect in Super Junior for a concept as ridiculous as this. What can I say? Ridiculous works for these two.

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screen Cap 01 D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 02

Watching this video I really feel like I’m looking at deleted scenes from an Austin Powers movie. Undeniably inspired by the disco era, Oppa Oppa features everything you could possibly want in a music video: simple dance steps, catchy chorus and vomit-inducing costumes. How could anyone say no? Obviously I’m taking the piss because everything about this song makes me want to smash my forehead against a brick wall because I feel it lower my IQ with each play through. But considering how popular Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seems to be (you have no idea how much this legitimately baffles me) if Japan don’t lap this crap up I will genuinely be surprised.

Now, you may be getting the wrong impression so I’ll reiterate—I really love this song. I’ve listened to it so many times my IQ is in negative triple digits and I continue to go back for more like a shameless glutton. It’s just so catchy and so much fun I can’t say no and the more ridiculous it seems with each repeat the more appealing it ultimately becomes. The reason being Donghae and Eunhyuk just do not take themselves seriously. I mean,  how could you when you’re rocking out in a car like a gangster?

The brilliant part of this whole project is how successful it was bound to be with very little effort on SM Entertainment’s behalf. Putting Donghae and Eunhyuk together for a side project would draw enough attention on its own due to the undeniable chemistry the two have, which is obviously and quite smartly exploited by SM in this case. But love or hate EunHae no one can rob this song of the credit it deserves in the catchiness factor. Next to Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby, Oppa Oppa certainly ranks as one of the year’s most likely tracks to get stuck in your head for days on end. It has plagued me for months now.

Despite my usual disinterest in Korean-Japanese re-releases Oppa Oppa has transferred quite smoothly and works just as well in both languages. Of course the hook line ‘Oppa Oppa’ was never going to be translated into Japanese (it just wouldn’t work) but as a whole the song seems to have retained its unique character. The words flashing across the screen are certainly a delight because it adds to the overall tackiness of which this PV reeks. But hey, it’s working for them so why not? Though, for the life of me I cannot understand why Tokyo and London were expressed in Japanese while New York and Paris were not.

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 04

Considering how badly Shindong wanted to be involved in this song when the duo were promoting in Korea—he even went as far as to make his own MV[1], which for the record had more time invested in it than SM Entertainment’s ‘official’ version—it’s great to see he finally got his wish and made a cameo in the Japanese PV. I’m not entirely sure why Sungmin is there but I’m never sure why Sungmin is anywhere. Can someone please explain/justify his inclusion in Super Junior M for me?

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 04

It’s really hard to express how bad this song and PV are while still conveying how good it is. Everything about it is laughable but there is a little something that makes it endearing. Maybe it’s the obvious amount of fun they’ve had promoting this song or maybe it’s simply just down to how catchy it is. Regardless, Oppa Oppa is one song I love just as much as I hate it and I sincerely hope Donghae&Eunhyuk churn out more of these shenanigans for the sole purpose of my amusement.

[1] You can see his version here on SM Town’s official YouTube page.


[SINGLE] 2NE1 – Scream

Scream is full of 2NE1’s trademark personality but a little lacking in the attitude department.

I find 2NE1 particularly refreshing in the grand scheme of Kpop as they can’t really be pigeonholed into the respective sexy or cute categories like much of the female idol cohort. With their powerful and generally non-sexualised image they certainly do stand apart from many girl groups on offer and their wild appearance is just the cherry on top. But let’s all remember kids: appearance is not everything.

2NE1 - Scream

2NE1’s music fortunately supports their strong image and personality and this brings them very close to being the full package. I know I’m approaching bias and girl-crush territory but I assure you this is piggy-backing across from the utter brilliance that was the 2NE1 Second Mini-Album. But however unfortunate this may be, Scream is not the Mini-Album. This short Japanese single is catchy at best, but lacks the punch of previous releases, most notably Can’t Nobody and 내가 제일 나가 [I Am the Best].  Scream in no way compares to its heavyweight predecessor—released as Nolza in Japan—but is still quite listenable. I always have more respect for original Japanese endeavours than shoddy translations so Scream is already a winner in that regard. The track is full of 2NE1’s trademark personality but a little lacking in the attitude department, with this only showing through in Minzy’s and leader CL’s rap, making Bom’s power vocals during the chorus the overall standout of the song.

I’m always interested in 2NE1’s music videos, not because of any outstanding choreography—because let’s face it, it blows—but due to their ridiculous fashion. I shake my head at anything Dara wears ninety-percent of the time and admire CL’s often androgynous getup. In regards to Scream, maknae Minzy deserves all the points for her indecently BAMF purple velvet suit. Any videogame geeks would also no doubt be impressed by CL’s Triforce earrings. I know I was.

 2NE1 SCREAM screencap01 2NE1 SCREAM screencap 02

Aside from the costumes, the MV is otherwise a bore as the girls do little more than walk and bounce around. Or in CL’s case, lounge on a throne in a leather ball gown. Everything fits together in a nice little package, however, and the visuals certainly do match up with the feel of the song. It’s miles behind what the girls achieved with 내가 제일 나가 [I Am the Best] but decent enough.

The b-side to this single is Fire, a Japanese version of 2NE1’s debut Korean track. This song defined 2NE1’s fierce sound that set them apart in the industry and this song still works just as well in Japanese. While it’s disappointing  no other original track was included on the single, this remake completes Scream well due to their similar feel. Considering the girls also just released an album of Japanese versions of their Korean hits, I don’t think it would have killed them to make another original track to include on this single. But oh well.

[Mini-Album] MBLAQ – 100% Ver.

MBLAQ seem content to reinvent themselves with every album and that is certainly what they have achieved with 전쟁이야 [This is War]

When 100% Ver. was announced MBLAQ declared the title reflected their one hundred percent confidence in the assortment of tracks displayed on the mini-album. After taking a listen I can’t help but think—really, MBLAQ?

MBLAQ’s musical style is indeed diverse and this is very much reinforced on this album. Each track on 100% Ver. could not differ more from the previous—it’s hard to believe they’re all contained on the one album by the same artist. This is both the strong and weak point of the album. On one hand we see the breadth of MBLAQ’s talents; on the other we’re overwhelmed with a pile of left-handed gloves—nothing goes together.

Much to the disappointment of people such as myself, the first track released off MBLAQ’s new mini-album was 낙서[Scribble]. I know it seems like I hate ballads, and that’s mostly because I do, but as I emphatically stated in regards to Big Bang’s release of Blue I find nothing more underwhelming than releasing some soppy tune as the initial teaser. I don’t actually hate 낙서[Scribble]—on the contrary I find it to be a beautifully melancholy song—I just hated the fact my first taste of what was a highly anticipated album was a ballad. In any case, the song is okay and, like most of MBLAQ’s releases, showcases G.O’s highly talented vocal chords.  Mir’s rap is always delicious and it was a great surprise to see Seungho join in alongside him. Is there nothing Yang Leader can not do?

The mellow 낙서[Scribble] left me with high expectations of title song 전쟁이야 [This is War]. Through tweets left by Mir about how pleased they were with the MV for this song I could not wait to get my hands on it. Initially, I felt a little robbed. 전쟁이야 [This is War] lacked the tempo I was craving and was very different to the previously released title songs Stay and Mona Lisa. MBLAQ seem content to reinvent themselves with every album and that is certainly what they have achieved with 전쟁이야 [This is War]. The raw, unrestricted emotion pumping through this song is phenomenal; with each listen I am drawn deeper by the understated power. Vocals, lyrics and choreography aside, the soundtrack itself is just breathtaking—you really can’t go wrong with a string accompaniment in a power-track such as this. The outro of the song features a beautiful piano piece and is the cherry on top of the emotional ride MBLAQ ruthlessly dragged you through.

I have a love-hate relationship with the MV for 전쟁이야 [This is War]. I love MVs with a plot. Even if there were a few strange questions raised—why is Joon trying to shoot the love interest at the beginning of the video?; why is Joon so gun-happy?; why is Joon always shooting women?; why is Joon always getting cheated on?—it’s generally straight-forward and encapsulates the emotion of the song beautifully.  The boys’ outfits and choreography were outstandingly sexy—hello leather pants and those oh-so-delicious chest pumps—and the video in general a well-planned masterpiece. It’s so nice to see JTune Camp actually spend time, money and effort on their music videos instead of producing the same low-budget crap time and time again. Yes, that is a stab at SM Entertainment.

The cause of my hate for this video stems from the irritating little dramatic interlude they decide to include smack-bang in the middle of the song. While I understand this scene is essential for showcasing Joon’s curving bullets, it could have been integrated so the flow of the song was not interrupted. There is a number of ways they could have gone about achieving this seamlessly but plonking an unrelated piece of piano in the middle of a song was not one of them. Regardless, this is a great MV and all of MBLAQ’s stage performances were flawless. They were very deserving of their back-to-back wins on M!Countdown.

Shifting gears and Hello My Ex and 아찔한 그녀 [She’s Breathtaking/Jittery Girl/I have no idea what this song is called] provide the low-lights of this patchwork album. 아찔한 그녀 is broken by weird speech recordings courtesy of maknae Mir and Hello My Ex fails to compete with MBLAQ’s previous light-hearted tracks—as ridiculous as it was, 모르겠어요[I Don’t Know] will forever be the best example of a ‘cute’ MBLAQ. Although keeping with being distinctively different of one another, these two songs do not stand up against the emotion of 낙서[Scribble] and 전쟁이야 [This is War] and are better off forgotten.

This leaves opening track Run. I intentionally left this song until last due to its birth yesterday as MBLAQ’s latest piece of promotional material. Run is an interesting composition. Much like the album itself it is all over the place and really not sure what it’s doing. The inclusions of stock audio bits make me simultaneously face-palm and laugh; the song is a little bit of fun and certainly contains ample personality. However, if you are not a lover of rap, I recommend keeping your distance—aside from Mir and Cheondung’s rap verses, the power vocals G.O are lost in an ear-tormenting wail, while Joon and Seungho are relatively unheard of. The choreography is one bucket of awesome, though, and MBLAQ are to be highly commended for their power, dedication and synchronicity.

100% Ver. may not be the perfect album MBLAQ proclaim it to be but it still contains many merits. Its diversity may appear on the surface to be a shambles but beneath its messy appearance is a well-rounded final product. If you ignore the disasters that are 아찔한 그녀 and Hello My Ex the depth of MBLAQ’s capabilities are very much explored and should provide the boys’ with a solid platform for their next endeavour.

Papa Rain can and should be proud of the effort gone into half  this album and all related promotional performances. A+ certainly are.

[MV] Block B – Nanrina

As you stick this song on repeat and rock out  while you’re getting ready for class or work or however else you choose to fill your days you will be thinking—my god I hate this song.

I made a resolution a while back to check out some of the relatively new groups floating about instead of just pandering to the already swollen fanbase of some for the more well-known groups. With this in mind I decided to check out Block B’s new MV Nanrina. I almost wish I hadn’t.

It’s always refreshing to see an MV open with an ultimately unrelated piece of drama because it’s so rare nowadays. We see one member staring perplexedly at the words 7.30 graphitised on a wall and another nonchalantly knocking back some strange concoction while ignoring a woman being hassled behind him. I hoped this signalled the beginning of a dramatic and gripping MV. It did not.

The moment the music kicked in I knew this was going to be one of those songs about which I regretted being curious. It was bad enough whenever I saw the title I was reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia but now I simply cannot get this damn song out of my head. It follows me around like a storm cloud follows an emo. And that just isn’t good.

There really isn’t a lot to be said about the song itself: repetitive but energetic pretty much sums it up. The music seems to never vary and being unable to speak Korean I of course cannot comment on the lyrics and I do not have it in me to look up a translation. I’m a little amused one of the unsurprisingly inserted English lines might be I dunno I dunno I dunno but I’m hard, hard. I’m sure it’s hot, but I kind of hope it’s the former. Actually, I really hope it is.

In any case, the song itself is nothing inspiring: it is repetitive to the point of being irritating and achieves no form of musical climax. That is to say, it’s not particularly interesting. Regardless, the more you listen to Nanrina, the more you will find yourself wanting to listen to it. And that is not because it’s any great musical masterpiece—more due to the fact that you just can’t get it out of your head. That chorus will leave your ears bleeding for more. But even as you stick this song on repeat and rock out while you’re getting ready for class or work or however else you choose to fill your days you will be thinking—my god I hate this song. I know I was.

The video is no more interesting than the song itself. Despite the attempt at drama aroused by the ominous ‘Team Black Dragon’ and ‘Team Red Tiger’ left lingering across the screen at the video’s opening it does not aspire to much more than delinquents strutting through various backdrops and dancing around on rooftops like primitive beings. Presumably Black Dragon and Red Tiger are the opposing gangs that inevitably take time out from the music video to beat the crap out of each other but that is no more interesting than the alternate shots of kids bouncing around on couches flailing fists at the camera.

For me, the choreography was the highlight, and possibly not for the reason it should be. While I don’t mean to criticize whatever dancing talent Block B may possess, the choreography for this track resembled some form of aggressive animal attempting to provoke onlookers into battle. It really is no wonder the term Gorilla Dance has taken off around the internet.

Despite having ripped this video to shreds, there is something about this song I cannot drag myself away from. I don’t hate the song. Well, actually, I kind of do; I want to groan whenever I hear that bass line start up but I can’t seem to anything but dip my head like a badass along to the beat. Because with that infernal chorus and choreography akin to a gorilla trying to master flight, Nanrina refuses to be forgotten.