Kicking off the Great ‘Boys Over Flowers’ Rewatch of 2015

There’s nothing quite like setting oneself an epic challenge – and if it involves a ridiculous amount of time watching cute (though at times hateful) boys and the most trope-filled RIDICULOUS plotline to ever be committed to film (in no less than 4 different adaptations) I’m up to the task!

Can I watch the same plot over and over again? Will I throw things at my screen when *spoiler* wtf noooo OMGGGGG whyyyy is this happening!!!  <— yeah, you all know (or will know) what I’m talking about… Will I ever be rid of the AAAAAALMOOOOST PAAAAARAAAAADIIIIIIISE earworm? Only time can tell! Continue reading

Infinite – Be Back Repackage – Album and MV Review

I’m back – after a break of many moons! And there is so much kpop to talk about! I’ll have to restrain myself to albums and singles that I have actually bought (which is still like… 30 things! OMG… so many posts to make…)

I’ll kick it off with my strong contender for song of the year…

Anytime Infinite has a comeback makes me a happy fangirl, so the very moment that they announced a repackage for ‘Season 2’ I had a countdown clock in place. Not that we had to wait long at all, as this promotion followed quickly on the heels of ‘Last Romeo’. ‘Back’ is certainly my favourite song of the year so far – and that’s fending off some very stiff competition in what has been a very good year of songs and concepts from all the groups that I follow and collect.

I might be a tad biased (Infinite being my second favourite group and home to my ultimate bias Sunggyu) but this is a solid song full of the familiar Infinite sound and excellent vocals. It starts with a slow buildup, steadily moving towards the drop where the full orchestral sound kicks in and it gallops along from there. Best of all, there’s some great line distribution in this song – everyone has something – and for a 7 member group that’s pretty good! This has had heavy rotation on my i-Pod and playlists and the more I listen to it, the more that I love it.

MV Moments (Performance Version)

The initial release of the MV was the story version, which features Infinite showing up to a gang fight to rescue Sunggyu’s sister armed with questionable items (an umbrella for Sungjong… really???) and receiving a pretty thorough beat down before they rally for a final showdown. It’s fairly stylised violence, but I still find it pretty hard to watch – even though I know it’s not real. I don’t know… it just makes me uncomfortable. I also have a hard time watching similar themed MVs and tend to minimise the screen / bail entirely as soon as blood appears (see: BAP ‘One Shot’, VIXX ‘Voodo Doll’, and the MV that cannot be watched ever again ever: MYNAME ‘Baby I’m Sorry’). Death and violence just aren’t my jam. So although I absolutely ADORED the song and watched every single live performance, I only watched the actual MV about 3 or 4 times. I can only watch Sunggyu being beaten in the head with a baseball bat so many times…

So it was a great relief when Woolim released the ‘Performance Version’ aka the version that focuses on the dance. Infinite has impeccable choreography as always – but it can be hard to focus on it for live stages and even in MV versions because of the camera cuts. It’s a real feat to be able to pull off a 7 member dance that has knife-like precision and is also interesting to watch.

Mirror Dance
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I really love the mirrored movements in the opening here – it’s clever as well as visually striking! Of course I’ve decided to focus on my ultimate bias here (who is looking FINE)

Can You Save Me?
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As the song picks up the pace, the dance also pulls the members into formation. I like how they all circle each other slightly too.

Back Back Back Back Back
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Body rolls… always a fave! This one is subtle (if you can call a body roll subtle) but I love it! The second one is more obvious, but I like the focus on L here 😀

Knife Dancing
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Infinite are known for their precision and this dance is no exception. It’s an odd mixture of fast and slow, but the high energy points are really great!

Dongwoo Sings!
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Normally part of the rap-line, Dongwoo has a vocal part and he nails it! (My squee was heard from miles away when we first listened to this)

제발 (Please)
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Not only do I love this dance move, but it’s a whole line for Sungyeol!

돌아와줘(Please Come Back)
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As we reach the climax of the song, the line formation here really looks great!

I Say Save Me
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And it ends perfectly as well!

Album Review

One thing that I have LOVED about Infinite’s albums this year for both Korea and Japan is how consistent they have been with their branding and packaging carrying across several years of albums and mini-albums. ‘Season 2’ was an exact mirror of their first album, with the same style slip cover and format. And now ‘Be Back’, the repackage, is also a mirror of the first album’s repackage ‘Paradise’ with the same envelope style casing! It’s a small detail, but the print nerd in me loves it!

My version of the album also came with 2 x posters. I have to laugh, because that makes 5 posters for this round of promotions and I can’t even choose which one to display – I may just have to rotate them in and out as the mood grabs me. There can never be enough Infinite on my walls!

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The outer packaging is printed on silver card with an emboss and spot UV highlight, die cut and folded into an envelope. It’s a clever way to make everything look like a present that you can unwrap. The image on the front is also version A of the poster (possibly my fave version). This is also a pretty big album! It takes up some serious shelf real estate when on display.

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Once unfolded, you have the CD mounted and recessed into black foam-core (I really love that they have the logo on EVERYTHING as well – sidenote, Infinite do an iteration of their logo for every album and I quite like this one – it’s a bit more feminine which works well with the ongoing ‘Last Romeo’ theme). Instead of a photocard, you get a giant postcard (random member) printed in colour on the same silver card as the outer packaging. Yay Woohyun! And in this first press edition, 2 x photobooks.

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The Special Edition photobook is full of candid behind-the-scenes photos from the ‘Back’ MV shoot. Lots of great photos and the paper is a good weight (not cheap feeling).

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The standard photobook is also great – the paper is a pearlised finish, so it gives the photos a slightly dreamy quality. Fans of the group will appreciate the many pages in both books – the repackage is significantly different enough from the original album to justify having both in your collection.

The repackage album has the same tracks as ‘Season 2’ but with the extra songs ‘Back’ and ‘Diamond’. Because it’s such a pretty looking album, this is my current facing outward on display showpiece for Infinite. I was super happy with this purchase and with the whole promotion cycle.

‘I want you back back back back back’

And as a bonus – the amazing dance practice video! The choreography for this dance was, as I mentioned, thoroughly ON POINT. Though Sunggyu obviously did not get the memo about wearing tight pants…

God bless lycra and the PD-nim for giving us this

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“Hi School – Love On!” Episode 2 – Woohyun Gif Set

Behold, Woohyun and his rather enviable form striding across the screen…

*fans self*

This series is super cute so far! (and thank you PD-nim for the bonus shower scene, though I mourn the lack of the mentioned “chocolate abs” showing on screen)

Alas that we only get one episode a week!

I’m looking forward to ALL the bromance with Sungyeol (who is being super broody and angsty already *pets him*) and a sweet high school first love story.

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.

HISTORY (히스토리) – Psycho (싸이코) MV – Review

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HISTORY (히스토리) – Psycho (싸이코) MV Gif Set

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of suggestive boytouching in an MV, and this is certainly one that delivers that in spades. It’s creepy and very possessive (with that stalker-who-might-stab-you-vibe) kind of boytouching, but I clearly have some deep seated issues because I loved this! Of all the KPop releases in June, this was one that made an impression.

There have been a slew of ‘dark themed’ KPop MVs recently with a fascination with Zombies, Vampires, Voodoo (hey VIXX! I swear you’ve done all of these…) and general death / gore imagery. However, I don’t think that many of these have successfully carried out the ‘creepy’ feeling (although ‘Voodoo Doll‘ by VIXX certainly made me squeamish at certain points). By creepy, I suppose I mean more unsettling; where the storyline / visuals / lyrics make the viewer uncomfortable because of what is implied rather than directly shown. A good example of a similar MV to Psycho would be G-Dragon’s ‘She’s Gone‘ where he literally chases his captive down and stabs her – it’s super disturbing with the lyrics implying that it’s because he can’t accept that she doesn’t love him ‘even as he lingers by her side as a friend’ *shudder* It’s the whole Nice GuyTM turned into a bitter psychotic killer because rejection just isn’t in his worldview. Maybe it’s just because this is a more realistic scenario than zombies IDK…

History are a group that I have followed since their debut, and I own all of their mini albums (curses, another group that I collect! There’s some excellent eye candy in their photobooks too for anyone wondering if they are worth getting). These boys are a bit chameleon-like, in that every release has been a re-invention of their image. They’ve tried out several different music and visual styles, so you can’t really pin them down to a genre. Their debut was the very excellent ‘Dreamer‘ which is a real departure from most KPop as it has very layered harmonies – almost like ‘Queen’. Their next title track ‘Tell Me Love‘ was a super catchy dance track (and is still on my favourites playlist) and was followed by ‘What am I to You‘ which is almost a melding of the two (and has the maknae in his underwear for most of the MV as he spirals into drink and depression…).

They are definitely a vocal focused group, with all members having a really fantastic range and ability (and eye-candy – there are some pretty boys in this group, not gonna lie). I was really pleased to see them coming back with another mini album relatively soon after ‘Blue Spring’ and the teaser for ‘Psycho’ definitely caught my eye.

So, back to the MV! ‘Psycho’ has its thematic and visual roots in the Hitchcock movie of the same name and pays clever homage to it throughout (as well as a few other Hitchcock films that share the same obsessive and possessive elements). It’s an MV that has had some thought put into it; it reflects the lyrics very well (which btw, are also very disturbing). I particularly appreciated how the storyline which is presented in Black and White contrasts with the dance scenes which are in colour. The more times I watch the MV, the more small bits and pieces I notice. It’s tightly shot and full of symbolism – like the mirrors that surround them and the fact that the initial costumes have a slight straight jacket quality to them and then later change into chain gang black and white stripes.

And although I appreciate hot boys all over each other as they dance, the best thing is really the fact that the MV and the song has something to say.

The opening confessional scene ends with the most excellent neck grab by Kyungil to Sihyung and then the maknae Yijeong smirks before it morphs into a full blown creep-tacular smile. The MV then launches into scenes of stalking, surveillance and delusional obsession. It feels claustrophobic at times and then celebrates the thrill of illicit voyeurism (which ties in so well with the relationship between popstars and their fans that I can’t even deal with it). The implied ‘multiple personalities’ and their conflict with each other is also really well done, on first watch I thought that Yijeong was protecting the girl, but nope… he’s struggling with some inner demons that he ultimately comes to embrace (or they embrace him – literally –  mmmmm Kyungil). It blurs the lines between reality and psychosis as well, you’re not quite sure if it was all in his head. Ugh I really can’t praise it enough, it has so many excellent set pieces.

The dance is crotch-tacular with loads of creepy caresses between the members. Kyungil (the hot leader) is rather magnetic taking every opportunity to sex up the camera, in fact they’re all really enjoying playing up the killer vibe *cough* Dokyun and Yijeong especially *cough*. So praise to the choreographer for pulling this together – it’s even better on the music shows with all the fans screaming their heads off. The slight irony of their obsessive love makes it particularly enjoyable to me.

The song itself is also excellent. It has a slight 80’s feel with History’s harmony lines throughout. All in all, this is shaping up to be a strong contender for one of my favourite MVs and songs this year.

I really think my main issue is that despite the truly ‘Psycho’ meaning of the lyrics and the underlying threat of violence and possession that runs through the visuals, my main thoughts are ‘Kyungil is suuuuuuper attractive here’ and ‘I wouldn’t mind if he stalked me a bit…’ and the fact that this taps into some of my rather dark desires is the truly creepy factor.

‘You’re gonna like this play’

I also recommend watching their performance MV as the choreography for this dance is ON POINT! The live stages have also been a real treat! Their ‘Let’s Dance’ is also terrific 🙂

Beast – ‘Good Luck’ – Teaser

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It’s the Beast with two comebacks!

And aren’t they all looking FINE!

A Japan single and a Korean mini album in the same month makes me a very happy fangirl.

Cube have stepped up their promo cycle for the Beast Boys and over the past week have given us 6 individual teasers and at midnight last night, we got the group one which gives us a closer look at the dance and a longer snippet of the song. It’s looking pretty amazing so far! And although I’m not a huge fan of the hip-hop outfits (I prefer suited up hotness) I think this is going to be great! I’m always a fan of piano and strings 🙂

‘Good luck! Baby good luck to you!’

There is possibly a bit of cheatery mccheaterson action going on, seeing as there is only one girl and a lot of angst from Dongwoon after presumably sleeping with her as Hot LeaderTM lurks menacingly outside the door (my maknae NOOOOO!).

And what’s with the Junhyung as Jesus complete with spilled gold coins and a stabbing? (Or is he the Judas in this scenario?). I do not want to have to add this to my ‘idols and DEATH Nooooo!’ YouTube playlist.

I’m now super excited for this to be out already!

Taeyang’s continued commitment to shirtlessness – Eyes, Nose, Lips MV – Review

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And it is truly appreciated!!

The MV starts on a tight focus on Taeyang’s jawline and neck tattoo and then slowly pulls back, revealing his shirtless state (nice!) and building to a crescendo of fire (literally burning a giant picture of the girl he’s singing about in a spectacularly dramatic fashion).

All MV’s should have dramatic fire.

And shirtlessness (with abs).

It’s certainly different to most MV’s out there, as there’s no dance or plot to be seen, rather you’re forced to focus on Taeyang and he puts in a very emotional performance. He has some really fantastic small movements that make repeated watching of the MV a must. My favourite part would have to be the sound of the fire that you can hear over the song – it’s a real asmr moment.

The song is like the MV – stripped back and bare, but it’s such a lovely track. I liked it a lot! I’m considering getting the album ‘Rise’ as I loved so many of the songs that are on it. I don’t currently have a lot of Big Bang in my collection (only 2 albums, and G-Dragon’s solos) but there’s a lot to like here.

I’m looking forward to a Big Bang comeback at some point this year, but all of the member’s solo efforts have been stellar A+