September was another month marked by tragedy and controversy. At the beginning of the month, girl group Ladies’ Code was involved in a car accident, ultimately killing members EunB and RiSe. Less tragic but still shocking, at the end of the month, SM Entertainment announced that Jessica would no longer be part of the iconic girl group Girls’ Generation. The American-born singer was the first of the nine members to be signed to SM, but after tensions rose between her, the group, and their management from Jessica’s relationship and other business ventures, Girls’ Generation officially announced that they would “continue as eight”. It’s hard to imagine SNSD without all nine members, and this incident marks the end of one of K-pop’s greatest successes. Outside of this, though, there was plenty of good music throughout the month.
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August has been one of the busiest and most exciting months for K-pop all year. With so many releases from big acts like Kara, Sistar, and Spica, along with some exciting debuts, it was tough to choose what to include in this roundup. It’s really felt like everyone rushing to put out a summer single before we move into the fall, which has left us with a ton of great music!
In the much-hyped media event revealing Taylor Swift’s big new single, not only did Swift announce that her new album will be called 1989, but also shared with us that this is the “first documented, official pop album” that she’s made.
So, forget all the country purists who called her a sell-out for the Max Martin co-pen “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” or the dubstep-indebted “I Knew You Were Trouble” or MOR pop mainstay “22” (all from her last album, 2012’s Red)—this album here is her real shameless attempt to become a pop star! It’s documented, even! Official! Notarized! With witnesses!
f(x) - “Red Light”
As someone naturally drawn to the more unusual and experimental K-pop, f(x) has always been one of my favorite girl groups. Especially since it released last year’s Pink Tape, the five-member, multi-ethnic group has pretty much dominated the strange, eclectic-pop side of of the genre. And Red Light, the group’s new full-length album, goes even further into the bizarre this-is-too-weird-to-be-likable-pop-but-we-all-love-it-anyway category.
Taeyang - “Eyes, Nose, Lips”
With so many comebacks and debuts going on, sometimes you have to take the risk and stand out with a piano-driven sentimental ballad (being sexy and shirtless in the music video helps too, but we’ll get to that). For his latest comeback, coinciding with his first full-length solo album in four year, Big Bang’s Taeyang has released “Eyes, Nose, Lips”, and made us all swoon. The tender break-up ballad starts with dramatic piano and follows Taeyang’s expressive crooning through confessional verses and a powerful chorus. He sings about his selfishness in their relationship and coming to terms with her leaving, remembering her “eyes, nose, and lips”. To top it all off, the song makes a cinematic modulation for the last chorus, really playing up the cheesy sentiment of the song.