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  1. Zion.T - OO Zion.T - OO Zion.T
    A jazzy lO-Ok at Zion.T's world
    February 16, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    From the eccentric and wild Babay to the retro Miss Kim to the moving "Yanghwa Bridge," Zion.T's quirky and offbeat R&B vibe varies from theme to theme. One thing that doesn't change is his simplistic style and addictive rhythms. Since joining YG Entertainment's sub-label The Black Label last year, he has turned to hip-hop and even became a judge on the popular rap competition Show Me the Money 5. Despite concerns that he would go mainstream after signing with his new agency, the singer-songwriter eases the worries by displaying his creative independence in the album OO, a refreshing jazz/hip-hop fusion about his unique worldview. Kicking off with a film rolling sound, the lead-off track... [read more]
  2. miss A: Suzy Mini Album Vol. 1 - Yes? No? miss A: Suzy Mini Album Vol. 1 - Yes? No? Bae Suzy (miss A)
    An artistic portrayal of love
    January 26, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Since her touching performance of "Winter Child" in the hit drama Dream High, Suzy has been known for her warm vocals which are rarely shown in miss A's songs. Last year, the singer-actress deviated from her group's chic style and ventured into jazz through the successful duet Dream with EXO's Baek Hyun. Making her solo debut, Suzy strays away from the mainstream even further with her first mini-album Yes? No?, an atmospheric release delving into the inner world of a young woman struggling with love. The title track Yes No Maybe (Track 2) is the only dance number in this ballad-driven album, but it still goes well with the album's hazy theme. The upbeat Britpop song is full of strong... [read more]
  3. Block B: Park Kyung Mini Album Vol. 1 - Notebook Block B: Park Kyung Mini Album Vol. 1 - Notebook Park Kyung (Block B)
    Mainstream idol, indie vibe
    January 24, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Over the past two decades, the K-pop scene has been dominated by idol groups, though the early to mid-2000s was the golden era of solo acts with big names like BoA and Rain. Now, we're seeing the gradual emergence of an era of idol soloists–an era in which notable members from idol groups pursue solo careers. As extensions of the groups they belong to, solo idol singers usually follow their groups' concepts. However, Block B's Park Kyung takes a new music route completely different from his group's tough hip-hop style in his solo debut Notebook. Notebook is a love diary recording the different emotions of a romantic relationship. The love tale begins with "Ordinary Love" (Track 1), a smooth... [read more]
  4. I Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Dream I Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Dream i
    A dreamy pop debut
    January 20, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    To appeal to the widest range of audience, Korean entertainment agencies tend to promote idol groups rather than soloists. Members from idol groups or well-known contestants from singing competitions like K-pop Star and Superstar K usually have a better change at solo careers. Solo singers without an already established fandom are hard to launch in Korea unless they are backed by large agencies. However, rising company WM Entertainment, which houses B1A4 and Oh My Girl, confidently introduces its first soloist Cha Yoon Ji with the stage name "I." Though known as the younger sister of B1A4's Baro, I proves that she is able to stand alone as a unique artist not because of her brother's fame,... [read more]
  5. WJSN (Cosmic Girls) Mini Album Vol.3 - From. WJSN WJSN (Cosmic Girls) Mini Album Vol.3 - From. WJSN WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
    A new cosmic power
    January 13, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Like many other girl groups, Cosmic Girls debuted with a cute concept. However, this common style didn't help them stand out. They soon found a new direction and successfully created their signature cosmic vibe with "Secret" in their second mini-album. Rather than simply following the newly established style, the thirteen-member group gives a fresh sound by blending their typical cuteness and the mature tone of "Secret" for their third mini-album From. WJSN. Kicking off with a refreshing synth opening reminiscent of their debut song MoMoMo, the title number "I Wish" (Track 1) may disappoint those who expect something as amazing as "Secret." However, the beautifully crafted pre-chorus and... [read more]
  6. Crush Mini Album Vol. 2 - Wonderlust Crush Mini Album Vol. 2 - Wonderlust Crush
    Autumn Memories
    October 27, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Last May, Crush surprised the K-pop scene with the innovative Interlude, which wittingly combines mainstream and experimental music. Returning with the soulful ballad-filled mini-album Wonderlust, the talented singer-songwriter once again amazes fans who expected another electronic music-inspired album. In the ever-expanding world of electronic music, pure organic music has become rare. However, Crush brings back acoustic sound for a nostalgic mini-album that reminds listeners of bygone days. Crush begins his music journey with the intro track Wanderlust (Track 1), an enticing song that fuses both acoustic and electronic elements. Introduced by a delightful tambourine opening, the joyful... [read more]
  7. SHINee Vol. 5 - 1 of 1 SHINee Vol. 5 - 1 of 1 SHINee
    A retro revolution
    October 12, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    SHINee always impresses fans with inventive concepts such as the detective looks in Sherlock and the zombie-esque moves in Why So Serious. However, these concepts only reflect the mood of the title tracks rather than the overall style of the albums. While their last album Odd focused more on the songs' experimental sounds, 1 of 1 has a clearer musical direction: retro style with a modernized twist. SHINee creates a unique retro sound by combining modern styles and music elements of the 80s and 90s. The title dance jam 1 of 1 (Track 2) brings back the vibe of the new jack swing style, a popular fusion genre in the late 80s and the early 90s. Introduced by several synthesized drum rolls, Tae... [read more]
  8. Red Velvet Mini Album Vol. 3 - Russian Roulette Red Velvet Mini Album Vol. 3 - Russian Roulette Red Velvet
    When Red meets Velvet
    September 29, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Promoted as an experimental group with a dual concept, Red Velvet has shown their vivid, bold image with the red-oriented Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb, and their classy, toned-down style with the velvety "One of These Nights" and Automatic. However, the concepts are not unique to Red Velvet since most of K-pop groups have their own "red" and "velvet" sides to showcase various music styles. What makes the group special is the idea of combining the two concepts to form a brand new style. Two years since their debut, their red side eventually meets the velvet side in the third mini-album Russian Roulette. The title track "Russian Roulette" (Track 1) is an exemplary track which best exhibits... [read more]
  9. NU'EST Mini Album Vol. 5 - Canvas NU'EST Mini Album Vol. 5 - Canvas NU'EST
    NU’EST deserves more attention
    September 20, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    NU'EST made an impressive debut in 2012 with Face, which brought them various rookie awards that year. In the following years, they kept coming back with powerful dance numbers like Action and Good Bye Bye, but the songs didn't help them achieve greater success. After a long hiatus in Korea, NU'EST underwent a substantial change in their style and returned with the dramatic "Overcome" earlier this year. Despite its high-quality production, the song was disappointingly underrated. However, their latest mini-album Canvas has been more widely recognized and the title track "Love Paint" earned them first-place nominations in music shows for the first time since their debut. Focusing on the... [read more]
  10. VROMANCE Mini Album Vol. 1 - Action VROMANCE Mini Album Vol. 1 - Action Vromance
    A new-fashioned vocal group
    August 17, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    It's hard to believe that Vromance is a newcomer because of their professional singing skills. Prior their debut, leader Park Jang Hyun, Park Hyun Kyu, Lee Chan Dong and Lee Hyun Seok served as vocal trainers and recorded demo songs for singers. Since 2014, the talented group has continuously released their own covers of famous songs, such as Michael Jackson's Love Never Felt So Good, Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, and Tiger Huang's "Not That Simple." To bring out their concept as a vocal group, they skillfully combine "Voice" and their old group name "Bromance" to form "Vromance." Though described as a brother group of Mamamoo, they take on a different jazzy R&B... [read more]
  11. NCT 127 Mini Album Vol. 1 - NCT #127 NCT 127 Mini Album Vol. 1 - NCT #127 NCT 127
    Pioneering a new K-pop trend
    August 5, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In recent years, K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment has put considerable effort into diversifying K-pop style through its "New Culture Technology" project, which aims to promote innovative K-pop music to the world. As part of the project, NCT, which includes the subunit NCT 127 formed by Tae Il, Tae Yong, Jae Hyun, Mark, Yuta, WinWin and Hae Chan, sets a new K-pop trend through their debut mini-album NCT #127. The title track "Fire Truck" (Track 1) is a thrilling Moombahton-rhythm number influenced by hip-hop and trap music. Though it lacks a catchy melody, its addictive beats make it a strong debut song for the group. Tae Il and Hae Chan's honeyed vocals don't match the song's funky style... [read more]
  12. Heize Mini Album - And July Heize Mini Album - And July Heize
    A soothing rapstar
    July 27, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Though independent rapper Heize has released a mini-album and several digital tracks since her debut in 2014, she remained underrated until she joined last year's Unpretty Rapstar 2, in which she exhibited her powerful rapping performances. Returning to her typical relaxing R&B style, Heize expresses her discontent with those who devalue her dream and her attitude towards love in the second mini-album And July. Rap music often serves as a tool to express exasperation through defiant lyrics and aggressive melodies. Different from typical rappers, Heize adopts a rather soothing way to voice her anger. Despite the tranquil guitar acoustic melody, Underwater (Track 2) shows great annoyance at a... [read more]
  13. SHINee - SHINee World IV (Blu-ray + Postcard Book) (Korea Version) SHINee - SHINee World IV (Blu-ray + Postcard Book) (Korea Version) SHINee
    A new breath of life to SHINee's music
    July 20, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Since their first concert in 2011, SHINee has started the interesting tradition of renaming concerts according to the shows' characteristics, such as the "Rice Cake Soup Concert" on New Year's Day in 2011, the 2012 "Autopsy Concert" and the 2014 "Pop Concert." Holding their fourth SHINee World concert on May 15-17 in 2015 at Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, the members came up with a new idea for the concert's name: "Must-go Concert." Though this new name sounds the least creative, "Must-go Concert" is SHINee's most special concert, breathing new life into the group's music thanks to the amazing rearrangements and the innovative solo stages. In previous concerts, SHINee usually started... [read more]
  14. f(x): Luna Mini Album Vol. 1 - Free Somebody f(x): Luna Mini Album Vol. 1 - Free Somebody Luna (f(x))
    A hidden treasure in K-pop industry
    June 29, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    As the main vocalist of f(x), Luna has always been the soul of the group with her phenomenal vocal power. Daring to challenge different experimental music styles, she and her bandmates have successfully created their own characteristic music brand. Carrying f(x)'s bold music spirit to her solo work, Luna tries even more new styles in the debut album Free Somebody, which ranges from upbeat EDM and R&B jams to smooth ballads. Blending with electronic pop dance and future house sound, Free Somebody (Track 1) is a very strong track that keeps you excited with its ingenious development of synth layers and Luna's vocal progression. Though the song begins with the same vocal tone, it becomes... [read more]
  15. SHINee: Jong Hyun Album Vol. 1 SHINee: Jong Hyun Album Vol. 1 Jong Hyun (SHINee)
    Jong Hyun's music laboratory
    June 8, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    SHINee's Jong Hyun first appeared as a lyricist with the group's Juliette album released in 2009. The singer-songwriter mainly focused on writing lyrics until 2013 when his self-composed duet A Gloomy Clock was revealed in IU's album Modern Times. Together with his composing team WeFreaky, he continued his songwriting efforts in the radio program Blue Night's special music project with more different styles including ballads, R&B and soul. In 2016, Jong Hyun's music style undergoes a massive transformation. Departing from his usual style, the singer-songwriter experiments with new genres in his first full-length album She Is, which unveils his funkiest side with a wide variety of music... [read more]
  16. Crush Mini Album - Interlude Crush Mini Album - Interlude Crush
    An "interlude" between mainstream and experimental music
    May 25, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    After the psychedelic debut track Red Dress featuring TakeOne in 2012, Crush immersed himself in contemporary R&B music, and has become one of the most influential R&B singers in Korea since his hot 2014 album Crush On You. He continued his signature R&B style the following year with the title number Oasis while returning to the psychedelic vibe with the B-side You and I. In the meantime, he has also shared various edgy future bass tracks produced by himself and other musicians on his SoundCloud channel. Crush strikes a balance between mainstream and experimental music for his new mini-album Interlude, which serves as a bridge between the conventional R&B style of Crush On You and the bossa... [read more]
  17. Lovelyz Mini Album Vol. 2 - A New Trilogy Lovelyz Mini Album Vol. 2 - A New Trilogy Lovelyz
    More than just cuteness
    May 11, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Lovelyz's cute and adorable image with a touch of fantasy makes them stand out from the rest of the girl groups. Taking listeners to an imaginary world, their music has the power of relieving stress. To establish the cute style of Lovelyz, eight girls with lovable voices were brought together. Though A New Trilogy follows the usual lovable style of their previous albums, it does find a way to diversify the cute style with maturity, allowing them to survive in the ever-changing Korean music industry which requires freshness all the time. With various melodies joining each other layer by layer to push the emotion to the top, the appealing, musically rich intro Moonrise (Track 1) seamlessly... [read more]
  18. Sam Kim Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Am Sam Sam Kim Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Am Sam Kim Sam
    Let's dance to "Sam Kim groove"
    April 25, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In 2014, Sam Kim ranked second in the third season of SBS's singing competition K-pop Star with his impressive talents in music arrangement and vocal performance. Strumming his guitar, Sam Kim established his own groove and performed various famous singer-songwriters' idiosyncratic jams including G-Dragon’s "That XX" and "Lies," Park Jin Young’s "You’re the One" and Honey, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Ben E. King’s Stand by Me and Sting’s Englishman in New York. He didn't just rearrange the songs: he recomposed them. Removing all traces of the original versions, Sam Kim ingeniously turned the classics into his own songs. Two years since the competition, he officially debuts as a... [read more]
  19. Dean EP Album Vol. 1 - 130 mood: TRBL Dean EP Album Vol. 1 - 130 mood: TRBL Dean (Korea)
    Watch Out for the Deanfluenza
    April 13, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Blended with a variety of music genres, Korean pop music stands alone as a unique genre that is expanding in terms of music style thanks to numerous Korean music talents. The most notable urban contemporary musicians like Beenzino, Primary, Zion.T, Crush and The Quiett are good at combining hip-hop and R&B with a touch of jazz to create smooth and catchy tunes. In 2015, Dean made his Korean debut with a more advanced music genre called future R&B, a rising music genre since 2012. By fusing the elements of 90s R&B, hip-hop, EDM, garage and indie rock, he established his own style of future R&B. The seven closely related songs in Dean's first mini-album 130 mood: TRBL narrate a love story in... [read more]
  20. Red Velvet Mini Album Vol. 2 - The Velvet Red Velvet Mini Album Vol. 2 - The Velvet Red Velvet
    Redefinition of the Velvet
    April 5, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    The velvety side of Red Velvet is not something new. It has been exhibited in their outstanding R&B and soul numbers with mysterious charms like Be Natural and Automatic, as well as smooth, swingy songs like Something Kinda Crazy and Take It Slow. However, their velvety side is redefined in The Velvet, which includes ballads in more different music styles. Inspired by the Korean folktale of Jik Nyeo and Gyeon Wu, "One of These Nights" (Track 1) is a sentimental ballad expressing the longing for meeting loved ones again. The song kicks off with a syrupy string opening, followed by simple piano chords and Wendy's mourning of "There's a sad, lone star in the dark sky once again." The backing... [read more]
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