Block B – H.E.R – Album and MV Review

After the ‘Jackpot’ promotions were cut short (due to the Sewol Ferry disaster) It was great to see Block B back with a follow-up mini album a short while later. The promos promised something fun, slightly off-kilter and most of all… very VERY pink!

Block B are a group whose MVs I always enjoy, as they’re usually a bit deranged with a hefty side of tongue-in-cheek winking at the camera – this is not a group who are afraid to destroy their idol image on camera at all.

Their last two promo cycles were ‘Very Good’ – bank robbing themed mayhem, and ‘Jackpot’ – circus themed mayhem. So in keeping with this tradition, ‘H.E.R’ is appropriately full of riotous pop colour, excessive and exaggerated aegyo, and a fun time is had by all.

When the first concept photos were released I will admit I was slightly taken aback – was Block B going to do a cute concept? It just didn’t seem… Block B. That’s not to say that they don’t have some lovely slower and romantic tracks in their discography, but they’ve never really been boy band cute. They’re more… chaos that is barely restrained. It’s like they are all ‘idols…. pfffft we’re here to have a good time!’

Thankfully ‘H.E.R’ throws the cute out the window (sort of) and embraces the silly, over the top joy that the feeling of being in love brings. It’s literally a cute concept on crack, or addled with caffeine and ADD… But it still manages to poke fun at the usual tropes of cute kpop while having a lot of fun romping around. The song has a really bright and upbeat tempo and like a lot of KPop this year, is somewhat of an homage to music styles from the past. This has a brassy 60’s pop feel, and the over saturated candy colours in the MV reinforce that connection. It’s catchy and fun and still has the distinctive Block B feel. Zico has done a really great job producing a cohesive body of work that captures their personalities and showcases their talents.

The live stages were a heap of fun as well, and best of all, we were treated to a few performances of ‘Jackpot’ as well.

MV Moments

Candy-Coloured Set

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I immediately loved all the pastel and pop styling! Especially as it looks like one big surreal play-set. I think they had a lot of fun just goofing off in a lot of the shots for this MV. There is a choreographed dance routine, but most of the MV is just romping around

Golf Shenanigans

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This GIF is a few scenes spliced together! But I laughed so much at the set-up and then the payoff for this.

HER

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So the chorus is very catchy! I especially like the kaleidescope effect where the basketball hoop shots are all smushed together.

Zico and the Ostrich

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This is so incredibly strange and dada-esque that it delights me – Zico also has a rather expressive face and makes some great GIF moments here.

1+1 Promotions

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So cute! Also rather clever as I remember seeing these all around the super market when we were in Korea. P.O’s noona-slayer pink (bright pink!) hair is also a highlight.

Taeil’s Heart

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So sweet! And another echo of the kaleidescope imagery in the set and the pop-art sequences.

U-Kwon slaps the aegyo out of Zico

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Hands down, the best part of the whole MV. My bias!!! But really, this is too funny. The show within a show is a great conceit as well.

Endless Block B

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The show interview pulls back to show the premier stage performance of Block B, and again to show Block B as the band playing the instruments. You can never have too many Block B members in shot at the same time 🙂

Album Review

In a sea of black and subdued albums ‘H.E.R’ and its bright candy pink packaging definitely stands out from the crowd! Unlike other groups, there is no consistency to sizing or styling with any of Block B’s previous releases. Each album is distinct from the last – which makes for an interesting and eclectic shelf arrangement.

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‘H.E.R’ is a 15 x 15 box enclosure (yay boxes!) constructed from a matt laminated card that is screen printed, foiled and spot uv highlighted. Interestingly it’s an interlocking die-cut rather than a cut and glue. (The print and design part of me likes to see how these albums are made, it’s a big part of the reason that I buy a physical copy, because they use so many interesting design techniques). This is a cheaper method, but the corner mitres are snug and the inner flap has an additional layer glued to it to add weight and improve the finish.

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I like the paisley design that is subtly printed on the black too! It’s a super feminine touch to an already overwhelmingly pink album. The cover is also a magnetic closure with a ribbon pull tab that is printed with their logo.

Rather than including a photocard, you instead got a random ‘paper doll’ of a member enclosed. I got Jaehyo! It’s a wonderfully kitsch inclusion that makes me love the album that much more.

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The photobook is also a lot of fun, featuring bobble-headed shots of the members posing with props. It’s totally cute – in a kind of exaggerated hyper-adorable way – it’s almost like they’re dolls with their tinted pink cheeks and toy scale props.

I’m quite tempted by the Special Edition as well which includes a DVD and extra photoshoot with a larger photobook, but it may have to wait until I am more financially solvent! there are too many albums to buy this year!

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The mini album has 6 tracks in total that are a kind of grab bag of styles and sound. I enjoyed the rough version of ‘Very Good’ and the ballad ‘Embrace Me Now’.

This was a great comeback and it was fantastic to see them get a few more wins under their belt too!

“Just a little bit of you”

And bonus dance practice in super cute onesies!! All dance practices should be this adorable!

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Henry – Fantastic – MV Review

Henry Lau is back again with a new mini album and MV titled ‘Fantastic’. I absolutely loved his solo debut last year, so this was a comeback that I had been anticipating – especially since he did SO MUCH trolling and teasing on all of his social media in the months leading up to the actual announcement of a date and time for the MV.

Being the maknae of Super Junior M, he’s already pretty high up my Suju bias list, and all of his appearances this year on variety shows have cemented him even further as one of my favourites. He’s definitely grown as a solo artist, however I do feel that SM haven’t given him anything particularly special to work with for this MV that would really elevate him as a star to watch.

That said, I did enjoy this MV and I also like the song. The violin adds a different feel – especially as he plays it himself and the chorus is quite catchy too. It’s not a song I skip when it comes up on my i-pod, that’s for sure!

The other songs on the mini album are also fun to listen to – featuring cameos from Chanyeol (EXO), Hoya (Infinite) and Seulgi (SM Rookies). I see what you did there SM… It does come across that they feel the need to shoehorn in other artists to support Henry, but I won’t complain too much as they add some additional colour and match well with Henry too.

Of course I ordered the album, and it will come at the end of the month with my other July KPop – with a bonus poster yay! I also hear that there is a photocard included too!

MV Moments that I appreciated

SM Love Their Maze Sets

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Kekekeke! I had a slight concerned frown here as I was thinking… wait… is this the EXO set recycled? I’ll put it down to a thematic coincidence and not just SM cheaping out. I do like the transition from the moody B&W noir feel here in the intro, to the colour of the song. The way the red bleeds / seeps into the frame is done well – it is totally in keeping with the ‘giving life through music’ storyline.

The Violin of “Destiny”

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Did JJ Abrams direct this MV? So many lens flares! Henry is rather talented, playing piano and violin (a modern renaissance man!) so I’m pleased to see him showcasing that here. Sure, this is a little bit cliched to have the violin create his dream woman – but at least there is a plot of some sort! I am a bit squicked by all the tubes – I have the same kind of feeling about Beast’s ‘Shock’. It’s just somehow unnerving to me.

Henry Does This…

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Straight to my ‘crotch dancing’ playlist! Actually titled “Calling Attention to Packages – aka blatant crotch dancing” (39 videos and counting as I work my way back through all the kpop). It’s almost a body roll too! The choreography in this MV is great to watch, it hits all the beats and also has a few set pieces that are quite clever.

Let Me Show You My Co-ordination Skills

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I am aware that he doesn’t actually do this ‘live’ during his stage performances – but you do have to admit that it looks pretty amazing fantastic!

Smile For the Camera!

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Henry is super cute as it is (and Emily’s ultimate bias), but I do love that he really looks like he’s having a lot of fun here. K-Pop is full of MVs that include the cute camera staredown – it’s a way to engage directly with the viewer (and let’s face it, I can’t resist it either). Henry is just the right amount of flirtatious and cheeky.

A Box Set That Actually Works

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SM love their box sets – but this one has a great detail! I love that it’s actually the ‘inside’ of the violin. If the camera swooping in didn’t clue you in at the beginning of the sequence, the cut-outs in the ceiling should. I especially like how this affects the lighting, causing a spotlight on Henry. This is actually pretty clever, so I give some applause to the set designer for this creative take on the typical box.

All the Henrys

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This was an interesting visual choice by the PD and set designer. For me, this kind of display of monitors reads as a dystopia – think Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ or Big Brother from ‘1984’. It has overtones of surveillance and control and the focus on multiple angles of Henry does nothing to dispel this reading. My take on the plot is that he uses the futuristic technology to channel the energy of his music into creating his perfect girl. This set, to me, makes this act come across as something that is either forbidden or dangerous, it’s kind of odd, because SM aren’t really known for making their MVs make sense at all. Ehhhh I’m probably reading too much into it…

Henry Makes / Gets His Girl

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The CG here is SUPER cheesy – but I still like it. And yay! A positive ending for an MV!

Watch the MV below – and don’t forget to check out some of the live stages – they’re pretty fun to watch as well!

It’s gonna be fantastic!

B1A4 – Solo Day MV

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B1A4 ‘Solo Day’ MV – Gif Set

And the cute MVs just keep coming!

Watching this really makes me wish it was summer and I had some cute boys to go alien chasing with.

B1A4 are back again after only 6 months with a fun and cute new MV and mini album. As always, it’s very much in their quirky style with bright colours, a great story and a catchy tune (with some dubious English thrown in, but it wouldn’t be B1A4 if it made actual sense!)

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Hahaha I had to scroll SO FAR BACK in our Kakao chat to find this exchange… how do we manage to send so many messages a day? (lol all kpop related too).

I love all of the elements in this MV – it’s great to see a group get out of the ubiquitous ‘box set’ and tell a story. It’s definitely different and bears repeated viewing so that you can catch all of the small details – especially in the signs and backgrounds.

This MV went on so many of our random playlists… (pink hair, beach, cute head bobbing, big round spinny things, random shopping trolley, nanana/lalalala, video game, glasses, doggies, stripey shirts, party – alas that the car was not actually a useless car…)  Well done B1A4! We should totally make that whistling playlist now, right?

How cute is Baro with his detecting gear and his utter glee at actually coming across the aliens! I also adore Gongchan and the dog (may have squealed a bit because it was so adorable).

Jinyoung did an amazing job composing this! I can appreciate his talent as a songwriter here as this is so much fun to sing along to.

I’m hoping we’ll get a dance practice at some point too – as the live stages are unbearably cute to watch!

Solo solo day solo solo day girl

100% – U Beauty – MV Review

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100% “U Beauty” MV Gif Set

It’s the cute flower boys of summer!

100% are back again with a 180 degree shift in concept. Their last mini album “Bang the Bush” and MV ‘Beat’ featured loads of vampire / frankenstein imagery (plus abs – yay! and lots of rather hot stage outfits featuring leather). ‘U Beauty’ is ALL about being adorable and piling on the aegyo. I’m not complaining though, as I love and adore cute concepts – especially cute concepts with colourful hair!

There’s a glut of adorable MVs out at the moment – which are all celebrating the northern hemisphere summer (as I type this, there’s a thunderstorm outside and I have my electric blanket dialed up to “3”). This MV isn’t anything super different, but it’s fun to watch and the song is very catchy! 100% have gone for a fresh and cute idol concept as they sing to a pretty girl (and slightly stalk her in the locker room).

100% are currently promoting as a team of 5. Their very attractive leader Minwoo is in the army and the maknae Sanghoon is on a break as he decides what he wants to do. Rokhyun has taken over leadership duties and is currently making himself my bias because he’s just too sweet. These boys are label mates with Teen Top with Top Media (yay!) and it’s fantastic to see them promoting back to back. They’re very underrated as a group and I’m hoping that they’ll continue to build their fanbase and popularity so we can see more of them!

I love the vocal line in this group – they are all talented singers and this is a light summery song with a good hook line ‘니가 예쁘다’ (niga yeppeuda) which will worm its way into your brain and have you singing along. I like the brass elements too – overall the song is bright and cheerful and has a fun rap chorus too.

I have to mention the colourful hair too! Jonghwan is blue, Rokhyun blond, Changbum pink, Chanyong is orange and Hyukjin escaped the stylist this time!

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I also appreciate the choreography – it fits well with the song, and has some pretty well executed moves that put their athleticism and flexibility to the test! I like that there are some jazz ballet moves too!  The live stages have been a real treat to watch so far as well with their strong vocals coming across.

I have ordered the mini album ‘Sunkiss’ from MNet (as they’re doing a signed meet and greet) The promo pictures were adorable giving me hope that the photobook will be full of boys with flowers. (just like CN Blue’s ‘Can’t Stop’). I’ll have to go back and get their first 2 mini albums now… and to think I mercilessly teased Aimee when she bought them in Korea…

I have embedded the original and dance version MVs below (The dance version is my favourite because it’s really good!) and if you have time you should also check out the acoustic piano version because it’s AMAZING! All the harmonies!! *melts* These boys are so talented!

You’re the one and only

Bigflo Polaroid!

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So I *might* have run up and down the hallway squealing like a crazed lunatic fangirl after I opened this album – but you can’t blame me for turning into a complete mess because this was the best surprise!

I caved, and added this adorable rookie group to my June buys because I managed to absolutely fall in love with them. Their adorable Bigflo-TV shorts on YouTube might have been the direct cause of this obsession… Plus the debut song was really good and very catchy!

Their last update was ‘Bigflo CD Factory’ which showed them preparing a special gift for their fans: 200 polaroids, signed and placed into albums to be distributed randomly.

Watch it subbed in English here or the original below:

I remember thinking it would be awesome to get one – but that the odds would be pretty low…

Anyway – Emily (one of my kpop BFF’s) got her latest order on Wednesday and promptly had a meltdown on Kakao – because she got one!!! Hers was from HighTop and there was a whole heap of excited squee and extreme jealousy exchanged in our group chat.

I’m sure she won’t mind me posting her photo too!!

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How cute is it!!!

My order was delivered on Friday (I missed the first delivery and had to have it rescheduled). It was waiting for me when I got home from a particularly gruelling day at work, so before I hopped in the shower I thought – ‘I’ll just take a peep at one album’ and grabbed BigFlo from the stack…

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Cue my own epic meltdown!

I was so thrilled to get this special item! Especially as it’s a one off polaroid. Jungkyun signed it and added a cute smiley face cartoon. There’s also a fingerprint in the sticky tape where he placed it on the CD.

Well, this is certainly turned me into a diehard fan now!

Emily and I are both incredibly lucky!

I’ve had to put this on top of my shelves so that I could display it opened up. Good thing there’s a nice gap between the top and the ceiling!

SHINVIXXFinite!

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The best kind of birthday present is one that you give to yourself.

Japan K-Pop releases in early July just happened to have the best ever combination of groups releasing within days of each other, so I bundled them together into one delivery of awesome!

I buy my Japan K-Pop through HMV – not only do they have an extensive and thorough catalog, their shipping is SUPER fast and always supremely well packaged. I’ve never had a bent or damaged CD yet. They might be slightly more expensive than CD-Japan, however I earn a lot pf points with them that I redeem to cover the shipping of subsequent orders… This is how my never-ending stream of deliveries is justified… Japan is bankrupting me I swear!

So yes, I absolutely bought all versions of SHINee and Infinite and restricted myself to just one of VIXX (though I am now VERY tempted to add the group version to another order).

Apologies for the photos – it’s late at night and I’m working at the moment. Boo having to earn money to fund this addiction!

SHINee – Lucky Star  – Standard Edition

Also known as the cutest single EVER!

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The standard edition is a CD-sized album. It comes with a photocard (1 of 6 random) and postcard (1 of 6 random). I got Taemin and Onew!

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Inside is a small photobooklet with 12 pages of images and lyrics – it’s head shots of all group members posing super cutely and some group shots as well. For those wondering – YES they are different to the Limited Edition.

The CD has the single ‘Lucky Star’ and B-side ‘Bounce’

SHINee – Lucky Star – First Press Limited Edition

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*nosebleed*

This was seriously so adorable! The limited edition is a DVD sized release with a perspex slip cover (printed with stars – sooooo cute!). It also comes with a postcard (1 of 6 random) and photocard (1 of 6 random). I got Onew and Key! Inside is a 28pp photobooklet and case with a CD and DVD.

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The CD has the single ‘Lucky Star” and B-side ‘Bounce’ and the DVD has the full PV (yay!!) as well as a super adorable ‘making of’ featurette. This is not subbed in English, but you don’t really need a translation!

VIXX – Darkest Angels – A Edition (N) – First Press Limited

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This album has 7 versions! One for each member and a group version. So hard to choose OMG! In the end I went with my bias N 🙂

This is a square album – slightly larger than a standard CD. It has a clear perspex slip case, CD/DVD case and 52pp booklet that has images from several of their Korean photoshoots for previous albums. It also came with a group postcard as well as a photocard (1 of 6 random). The photocard is the larger ‘Japan-size’ which juuuuust squeezes into a photo holder.

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This is a full album with 16 tracks and the DVD contains 10 MVs (all Korean versions). This is an album release purely for the Japanese market – VIXX have not re-recorded their songs in Japanese, so there’s nothing new here. This is really only worthwhile if you like collecting!

Infinite – Last Romeo -Kimi ga Ireba Ii (Standard Edition First Press)

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The Infinite albums are all exceptionally presented! The standard edition has a slip cover that has foiling and also comes with a photocard (1 of 8 random) I got Hoya! Again these are the larger type photocards.

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The photobook is the ethereal white outfits where they all look like their floating or ascending 🙂

The CD has the title track ‘Last Romeo’ as well as ‘僕という人’ (Boku toiu Hito) and Nothing’s Over (Japanese Version)

Infinite – Last Romeo -Kimi ga Ireba Ii (Type A First Press Limited)

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Suuuuuper pretty!! It’s about the same size as a DVD and comes with a 16pp photobook as well as  a CD / DVD combo. The photobook slides into the left hand side and is hidden.

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These photos are of the Japan outfits from the MV remake!

The DVD has the PV as well as a making of featurette

Infinite – Last Romeo -Kimi ga Ireba Ii (Type B First Press Limited)

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This edition is AMAZING and it’s also absolutely HUGE as it’s A4 in size. *sobs* Infinite had to be re-shelved because of this! The gold foiling on the cover is a really lovely tounh


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Edition B only has the single, but the 52pp photobook is absolutely gorgeous! This is from the same photoshoot as their second Korean album and it’s a very high quality print with lovely paper.

My resistance to the cute is crumbling

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빅플로(BIGFLO) TV episode #12 유성 & Z-UK TV – Gif Set

In which Yuseong went to Jeju and frolicked in a field and with flowers (like a giant, but angelic-looking dork).

He’s pretty much too cute to live!

(The episode with his 3 pet hamsters was the most adorable thing that I have watched all week, but making GIFs of that might just kill me)

The best thing is that we wrote our group name in the sand at that EXACT same spot when we stayed at the Shilla as well.

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Watch the episode below – or subbed in English