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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Infinite Fanclub – Inspirit 4 Recruitment

Joining an official K-Pop fanclub might seem like an odd thing to do as an International based fan – particularly as most of the benefits of being a member only apply to events and concerts that are held in Korea – but it’s another way to support a group while getting a nifty card with your name on it that you can flash to prove you’re a literal die-hard card-carrying member!

This year, I decided that I’d sign up for as many of my groups as I could – Sure it’s a total indulgence, but it’s fun at the same time. Typically, fans tend to only join one fanclub – but I love so many groups and I have no problem at all supporting all of them at the same time! (Though October is going to kill me as it’s a month of back to back comebacks for boy groups that I adore and love and I can’t choose between them and will be torn for who to support the most for music shows…)

K-Pop groups usually have specific sign-up periods for their official fanclubs (generally a 2 week window of time) once a year (and sometimes not even that!! SHINee open your registration again already!!). Depending on the group, sign-ups may be via the official Daum cafe,  an email address, via the record company website, or through a third party website. It used to be very difficult for a fan not based in Korea to join, as you’d often need a Korean postal address, or even a Korean SSN (Social Security Number) and the whole process was in Korean (as you’d expect) But these days, recognising that the Hallyu wave has brought the world to their door, more and more groups are adding an ‘International Fan’ option.

Once you have registered and paid, your membership is then valid for one year. Typically the benefits include:

  • Instant level-up in the Daum fancafe so that you have earlier access to behind the scenes photos, messages from members etc. This is really great for me, because I’m a total lurker when it comes to the fancafes, as my Korean fluency is still pretty sketchy and I slightly hyperventilate at the thought of having to write a post in order to accumulate participation points.
  • Early access to purchase concert tickets or concert ticket lotteries
  • Participation in a fansign or fanmeeting event
  • Preferential access for things like music programs during comeback schedules
  • Special fanclub goods that often come with messages from your group
  • A card with your name and membership number on it

Some groups don’t extend all of these benefits to international fans, so if you’re joining to have access to a fansign/fanmeeting for when you’re in Korea, be sure to read the fine print! And these benefits only apply to concerts and events held in Korea during the year that your membership is valid; if your group comes to your country, being a member will not give you early access to tickets. To take advantage of the benefits while in Korea, you’ll need to be able to navigate the fan cafe & understand some Korean to find out dates, times and the application process for fanmeetings, or be a whizz with google translate (or be like me and stalk Tumblr tags for helpful people who write tutorials on how to do things!) And even then, nothing is guaranteed!

Recruitment notices are posted in the fancafe and you might get a cute youtube video notice as well – you just need to keep your eyes peeled (or stalk Tumblr tags or Facebook groups)

So far this year, I have joined the following fanclubs: The costs are in Australian dollars and each membership works out to about $60-80 once shipping is factored in. Most of these were super easy to sign up for, as the third party website that they used (Interpark) had an option in English and accepted foreign credit cards. The hardest part is joining the fancafe and applying for your level up LOL!

BAP – $38 plus separate shipping costs that we didn’t find out about until it was too late 😦 So alas we never got the fan goods
2PM – $35 plus $25 shipping costs – came with card and box of fan goods (pin set, bookmark, postcards)
Teen Top – $28 plus $17 shipping – card only – you can buy the fangoods ‘Angel Box’ separately without being a member
Infinite – $36 plus $35 shipping – came with card, postcard and light-stick
EXO – Free, online only registration, no direct benefits
GOT7 – $38 plus $29 shipping – came with card and box set of fan goods (stickers, postcards, card holder)
VIXX – $27 plus $29 shipping (made separately via international bank transfer, so the fees were HUGE) will come with card and goods

Infinite had their 4th fanclub recruitment for Inspirits earlier this year. It was all handled through Interpark, who also helpfully added shipping costs automatically, so required no effort whatsoever!

2 months after the sign-up I received a package via DHL. It was a pretty hefty box and I was surprised as during sign-up the ‘fan goods’ weren’t actually listed – we just knew it would be something.

Much to my joy, it was the new lightstick of GIANTNESS!

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We also got our card as well as a postcard with printed signatures and messages. It was all super cute, but I was mostly excited about the lightstick. Buying one of these and paying shipping costs more than the fanclub membership itself, so this was a win for me!

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The lightstick is really pretty – and has a cut-out on the top in the shape of the logo, so when it lights up it casts the same shape – so clever! So now I’m armed with an official lightstick for the next Infinite concert that we go to!

Special bonus – my ultimate bias Sunggyu posing (as only he can) with this glorious piece of merch!

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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…

July Kpop Additions

So, I added a whole heap to my collection in July – blame the perfect storm of a lot of releases in both Japan and Korea, some items that FINALLY arrived from June, and my birthday allowing me to indulge…

Somehow it adds up to like 21 things – no wonder my shelves are in crisis mode and I’m living on potatoes!

Japan Albums

(which continue to bankrupt me because I can’t stay away from them and they aren’t cheap compared to Korean albums AT ALL)

Infinite – Last Romeo – Type A and Standard First Press Editions (single)

VIXX – Darkest Angels – Version A (album)

SHINee – Lucky Star – First Press Limited and Standard Editions (single)

I got all 3 versions of Infinite both versions of SHINee and restrained myself to only one of VIXX and covered these in a previous post. Basically they are all amazing OMG!

BTS – Boy in Luv – Standard Edition (single)

BTS have really put in an effort for their Japanese market this year, releasing all of their Korean hits as singles. I collect this group, so this was an auto buy for me. I decided on the standard edition because I wanted a photocard! Their record company releases the full PV on youtube, so I didn’t feel the need to get the DVD version. Again this is a standard CD with lyrics sheet insert – nothing too exciting so essentially it’s a big excuse to get a photocard.

The CD has 3 singles from their latest Korean album – “Boy in Luv” “N.O” and “Just One Day”. Their Japanese is pretty cute, not awful but a bit shaky in some spots. I’m hoping that at some point they will release some original songs in Japan *crosses fingers*

UKISS – Love on U – CD/DVD combo (single)

Congrats U-KISS! I finally cracked and ordered a Japan single… This is of course inviting disaster, because now I’ll feel the need to collect the rest of them and I had resisted so well up until now! I justified it because:

1) I really liked the song (yay all the Kevin and Soohyun!)
2) Jun.. and I can totes collect everything post Jun right?
3) I knew the behind the scenes video would be AMAZING

The CD has the single “Love on U” and B Side “Feel It” both of which I liked a lot. UKISS are in my top 5 for a reason! They both have an R&B feel and have gone on my Japan playlist. Alas no photocard or photobook – just a lyrics sheet insert.

The DVD has the full PV (hooray! Avex are sucky and only ever upload short versions to YouTube) as well as the AMAZING behind the scenes video. Ahhhh so many Jun feels! The boys have about the same level of Japanese that I do (ie. basic and high school level) so I had no problems understanding everything. Not that you really need subs to enjoy the ridiculous amount of cute…

Boyfriend – Start Up – CD/DVD Version A First Press Limited (single)

Ugh… so much cute! I officially locked in these boys at #9 in my top 1o this month (waaaah only one more slot free, and I need to TARDIS, like, at least 30 groups into it). This was a really cute PV – which I made many gifs from! Clearly the single was also on my buy list.

This comes with a super cute mini photobook with lyrics as well as a CD sized postcard. I got Hot Boyfriend Leader Donghyun! Yay! I have a few of his postcards now. The single “Start Up” and B side “DO-DO-DO” are both bright happy j-pop songs and quite typical of Boyfriend’s Japan discography

Boyfriend – Seventh Color – CD/DVD Limited Edition (album)

And I was very good and bought only one version of this! Which was hard as they all had slightly different bonus tracks and photobooks too! I shall covet Aimee’s extra HMV version when I visit next month. I loved the title track “Here” from this – the short version was released almost a month ahead of the album, so I had plenty of time to anticipate it. Ahhhh so many cute moments in the PV as well! (all the GIFs!)

This is a CD sized release with a slipcover. The photobooklet is SUPER adorable as well with lots of cute pics. I got Minwoo as my postcard (cute maknae of cuteness) as well as Donghyun as a magnet from HMV (OMG I want like all 6 of them SO BADLY). Being a full album there are a lot of tracks to cover! Boyfriend also release completely original songs in Japan, so it’s extra impressive that they are promoting two almost polar opposite concepts at the same time in two different countries. My crush on Donghyun continues apace (I looooove his vocals!), so it’s hard to choose a favourite track. They’re all cute and bright pop songs though.

Next year I am determined to go to a concert for this group – preferably in Japan so I can really go to town and fit in with the crying fangirls.

Korean Albums

BAP – Unplugged (mini album)

Yay! It finally came! (mostly because I bundled it with other Kpop released much later). The poster is also adorable, so I need to find room for it somewhere. This had a gorgeous photobook – it’s styled a bit like a photo album with “polaroids” from a trip to London – all with a completely hipster instagram filter applied to them! I got a Zelo photocard and died from happiness (my bias!)

I liked this MV and single. It’s certainly a departure from their better known style, but it was a lot of fun. And all that cute aegyo didn’t make me completely fall in love with it immediately or anything like that…

Bigflo – First Flow (mini album)

I broke my Rookies rule – and it was the best decision ever

JJCC (Double JC) At First – Signed edition all members (single)

More Rookies! But technically a present (Thanks Aimee!!) I liked this debut a lot, it’s a great laid back track and has had a fair bit of play on my 2014 playlist. I have side-eyed a few of the member names (Simba… Prince Mak…) but I am sure that they will grow on me. They have a fair bit of potential as they are backed by Jackie Chan, so I look forward to their follow up (hopefully soon)

Eric Nam – Ooh Ooh – signed edition (single)

Another one that FINALLY arrived. I love Eric a lot – probably because we watch his show ASC every week and he’s such a great host. He and Kevin (from UKISS) have a great bromance going! Apart from that, the track is super cute and catchy and definitely fun to dance along to! It has a great brass big band swing feel and has an ear worm chorus as well.

We got this one as an MNet Meet and Greet. Eric read my message out and made my day! Aimee fared even better and got like a whole conversation as a reply to her ‘Come to Australia please!’ comment.

The single has a mini photobook with cute pics and also came with a photo postcard.

Beast – Good Luck – Version A and B (mini album)

Sooooo don’t judge that I got both of these… One was a birthday present! Technically this is the same album, just both versions. However they are COMPLETELY different, in fact they open in opposite directions – a small detail that I really appreciated. Both photobooks are HUGE and filled with pics from their dual photoshoot concepts. I finally had a photocard double up with Hyunseung in both albums, but have since traded one for Hot Leader Doojoon.

As with all Beast albums, it’s really beautifully presented and constructed. My inner print nerd had a lot of fun going through it all. I might slightly prefer the black version, despite my bias having some decidedly derp photos!

I really loved all the tracks on this mini album (well done to Junhyung with the composing and lyrics) but best of all they included “Sad Movie” as a Korean release! I nearly cried when they performed it as their goodbye stage on all the shows because it’s one of my most favourite of their Japan tracks.

MBLAQ – Broken – signed edition all members (mini album)

This took AGES to get here. But I finally have my super hot MBLAQ boys! Hooray! There’s a lot of eye candy in this photobook. I have a bit of a thing for suited up hotness and this comeback is definitely in my Top 10 so far this year. Joon was my photocard (more cheering! yay my bias!!)

The album also takes up a fair bit of shelf real estate – being gigantic OMG. I had to spine all of their other albums and shift Ajax to another shelf to fit this in. But saying that it’s also a nicely presented album with a box case, perspex CD plate and perfect bound photobook. Bonus Joonie evison advert insert – abs are always appreciated!!

I liked all the tracks on the CD too – it’s a really great album to put on in the background if I have work to do. I feel like they have really matured vocally – and the added hotness for this comeback was a bonus. (Seungho, you really levelled up! Well done!)

History – Desire (mini album)

I have already expressed my adoration for the title track “Psycho” MV. The album is also a great addition to my collection as I love me a box style case! It’s also huge, but I forgive that because they included such a great photobook. I really appreciate that they took the styling and the concept to the nth degree here. There’s some really clever photos here that have a decidedly unhinged and obsessive feel to them. Yijeong has this great photo where it has been scratched out in a spiralling pattern around his eye *shivers*

The songs are also great – all centered around ‘Desire’ I really like 태양은 없다 (There’s No Sun) and Blue Moon. This group have really fantastic vocals and I pretty much added the entire album to my faves list.

Boyfriend  – Obsession – Signed Edition Hyunseong (mini album)

Soooo lots of Boyfriend this month! This time their Korean comeback which it feels like I was waiting FOREVER for. We got 2 MVs and dance practices out of this mini album and a bajillion amazing live stages, so I was a very happy fangirl.

This mini album is a nice addition to my now extensive Boyfriend shelf. It’s the standard mini-album configuration with the photobook affixed to the inner left and the CD on the right, no photocard but a group postcard was included. I’m not a huge fan of the hip hop styling in the photobook, but I will console myself with the Hot Boyfriend Leader implied abs on page 5.

I did love this comeback though. It’s a slight change in direction vocally for them and I’m not at all opposed to them growing and changing as a group. My fave track was ‘Alarm’ which I just adore.

VIXX – VIXX box (DVD and goods)

Damn you VIXX! *shakes fist* Thank goodness it was my birthday otherwise I really could not have justified buying this! I’m glad that I did though, because it was crammed with all sorts of goodies that a hardcore fan of the group (like me!) will really adore.

  • Pin Set – that will never come out of the wrapper LOL like all my other pin sets
  • Photocards – too big for my holders, will have to work on a solution to this
  • Giant Postcards – soooo many – where will I put them all???
  • Diary Planner with stickers – can be adapted to any year. Not sure if I will use this as I plan on getting more end of year calendars which also come with planners but I love all the cute pics!
  • DVD

I love how it’s all put together as well – the box has some neat compartments. I’m a bit of a bad fangirl and haven’t watched the DVD yet – I have this MASSIVE backlog of Dramas and cute reality shows to get through first!

VIXX – Voodoo DVD set (DVD and goods)

This was bundled with the VIXX box and as I had neglected to buy it when it first came out (and regretted it) I was pretty happy to be able to add this without significantly breaking the bank.

This came with some postcards and has a fab additional photobook as well. The DVD is also in my ‘to be watched’ queue!

My Updated Current Stats! *shame*

Albums – 270
DVD Concerts etc– 18
Photobooks and Other – 9
Posters – 127
Photocards – too many… (LIES! there is no such thing as too many)

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.

The Great Shelving Crisis!

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*sobs pathetically*

This is what a deadly K-Pop addition looks like…

That ShinVIXXFinite order arrival from Japan finally put my Kpop shelving into overload. There is officially no more room at the inn! I’m actually going to have to invest in the add-on unit because I may have bought a heap of Kpop albums for my birthday (it was totes just all the albums for June that I had on hold until monies came my way…) and have pre-ordered another pile of Japan releases and upcoming Korean comebacks.

I love to display the albums that I’ve bought because they really are beautiful to look at – not just because of all the cute boys, but because they’re really gorgeously packaged. I’m a graphic designer who works in print and I really appreciate how the albums are put together. All of that Spot UV and foiling and embossing! Not to mention the really amazing die cuts that make up the actual album enclosure – I wish that my clients would spend the money on these processes!

I like to have at least one album per group facing outwards – usually their most recent release – however I now have at least 9 groups who are delegated to spine only *sad*.

This all started just over 2 years ago with my first physical album purchase – Super Junior’s ‘Breakdown’. I then added albums slowly until we went to Korea last September. I remember making lists before we went of all the albums that I wanted to buy. My extreme ‘wish list’ had over 65 albums on it, and after laughing at how ludicrous that idea was, we all culled our lists down to about 20 with a +5 leeway for sneaky buys (aka my cutie boy groups that I was at the time in denial over)…

Then Aimee and I went to Tower Records in Japan and threw our rules out the window. I had 2 Japan albums on my list – SHINee’s Boys Meet U (which had just been released) and Junho from 2PM’s solo album ‘Kimi no Koe’, and let’s just say that I left Japan with over 20… Damn you Boyfriend and Infinite! Why did you have to be so awesome! Korea was even worse – even after posting all my Japan albums and our first few days haul back home, I still left the country with 85 albums, most of them carry-on and we were STILL overweight on the baggage weight limit!

Because I collect so many groups, every month I add at least 10 albums to my collection (usually more, because of Japan releases that I can’t stay away from). For reference these are the groups that I either own the entire discography of or am currently collecting:

  • SHINee – Japan and Korea all versions
  • Infinite – Japan and Korea all versions plus Toheart, Sunggyu and Infinite H
  • FT Island – Japan and Korea (missing 6 singles that are out of print)
  • MYNAME
  • VIXX
  • BtoB
  • Teen Top
  • B.A.P – Japan and Korea
  • UKISS – Korea only
  • EXO – K and M versions
  • TVXQ! – Japan and Korea (only the duo releases)
  • CN Blue – Korea only
  • 2PM
  • 2AM
  • SHU-I
  • B1A4
  • Boyfriend – Japan and Korea
  • Beast – Japan and Korea plus solos Yoseob and Junhyung
  • MBLAQ
  • Nu’Est
  • History
  • BTS
  • ZE:A – plus subgroups
  • Alphabat
  • Boys Republic
  • Speed
  • Block B
  • JYJ
  • Heo Yeong Sang
  • A-Prince
  • A-JAX
  • Super Junior – incomplete – only my fave albums so far
  • and various solos and one offs

Hmmm – I have a lot of groups there! No wonder I can’t narrow down a top twenty!

Whenever I have visitors they all enjoy pulling them down and looking through them because they’re so different to anything that you can buy here. An album in Australia is a CD jewel case and you’re lucky if there’s a 4 page insert at the front. K-Pop comes with so many extra goodies – I especially love photocards – I’ve filled nearly 6 cases with back to back cards (I may have an addiction) and let’s not mention the now more than 100 posters I seem to have accumulated…

Lots of albums also come with postcards, stickers (not that I’ll use them – they are for looking at only!) and bookmarks. The most deadly aspect is the repackage album, where about a month after the initial release the group will record another song (or two) and re-release the album with a brand new album design and photobook. I’m a bit of a serial collector, so I have a fair few of these. To me, they are worth buying – because most of the time the CDs never make it out of the case (except to be added to i-Tunes). I buy them for other reasons – namely the photobooks!

I rotate my posters in and out – although I am currently having an existential crisis because there are too many posters and not enough wall! And I do put up postcards from select albums as well. Technically this would reduce the re-sell value as *horror* I do use blue-tac – but I’m not about to get rid of any!

My Current Stats! *shame*

Albums – 252
DVD Concerts – 16
Photobooks and Other – 9
Posters – 119
Photocards – too many… (LIES! there is no such thing as too many)

Wow… I could pretty much make a post per day featuring a K-pop album for a year…

On it’s way to me are:

MBLAQ – Broken (signed edition)
B.A.P – Unplugged
Beast – Good Luck (Black and White versions because I totes need both photobooks)
Bigflo – First Flow (I broke my rookies rule and bought them because I love them)
History – Desire
VIXX – VIXX box and Voodoo DVD box (‘cos I skipped Voodoo last time and had regrets! Good thing it was bundled with the VIXX box on sale!)
SHINee – SHINee world 3 DVD set
Boyfriend – Obesssion (signed edition)
UKISS – First Homme (signed edition) – I am giving the copy I already have to a friend…
ZE:A (signed edition)

On Preorder for July:

Got7 – Got Love (signed edition)
Henry – Fantastic
B1A4 – Solo Day
Nu’Est – Rebirth
Boyfriend – Seventh Color (Japan release) – maaaaay need 2 versions of this, let’s just say they are in the cart, waiting to be processed
BTS – Boy in Luv (Japan release)
BAP – Excuse Me (Japan release)
Donghae & Eunhyuk – Skeleton (Japan release)
Junho (Feel – Japan release)

Likely to add:

Infinite – Last Romeo repackage
C-Clown – 4th mini album (also WAE are all their other albums now out of print *will have to scour ebay*)
Teen Top – comeback
Block B – comeback
JYJ – comeback

I have no idea how I’m going to cram this into my shelves without drastic rearranging and spining most of my displayed albums. *crying forever*

How do you display your Kpop? Do you do it by group like me? Are your favourite groups in a special position?