Kpop gains momentum as BTS make history

featured image via pinterest

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there is no way you could’ve missed BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, swift ascent to the top of the K-pop hierarchy. Since BTS’s inception four years ago, the seven-member Korean boy band is one of the peninsula’s raising acts breaking records every beat of the way. With their increasing popularity at home and internationally, they have gained momentum as leading K-pop artists since their debut in 2013. BTS solidified their popularity by receiving prestigious awards such as (Daesang) in Korea’s major K-pop award functions such as Artists of the Year from Mnet Asian Music Awards, Album of the Year from Melon Music Awards and also one of the most eminent award of the world, Billboard Music Awards for Top Social Artist.

BTS’s musical style and image ranges from a tough boy image to a more youthful image, nevertheless mainly influenced and based on hip hop and R&B. Throughout their albums and major releases, BTS has delivered a consistent message that actively rejects school bullying and society standards while promoting the individual’s pursuit of happiness. What also sets BTS apart from other K-pop bands is that members produce their own songs and are involved in the composition of their songs. They are also well-trained in dancing and choreograph their own moves.

While K-pop has never been main stream internationally, BTS’s overseas popularity has increased K-pop’s fan base and exposed the world to the K-pop genre. The K-pop movement is undeniable as the band continues to attract fans from all over the globe with their unique blend of hip-hop, electronica and more melodious elements. More notably, they are receiving awards for their work which is confirming K-pop as a true player in the music industry. But their true mark of difference from other K-Pop bands is their passion that exudes in their music, performances, public appearances and social media. They are quickly becoming the symbol of K-Pop internationally and are setting standards for other bands.

2016-17 has been a great year for BTS. The Korean septet headlined major events on both U.S. coasts and all over the world, releasing a bevy of new music in Korea and Japan, and becoming the first ever Asian group to win Billboard Music Award. On 2016 they were the only Korean group to to have their own twitter emoji, the first ever group from a small agency to win Daesang, placed as No.3 out of top 10 most mentioned musicians of the world on Twitter and also No.1 on the top 10 most re tweeted artists world by far dwarfing Kanye West, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Ariana Grande and so on. According to YTN Korean news, BTS is the third generation korean group who changed the a Korean wave. Artistic growth from individual members has continued to boost BTS’ popularity around the globe. Their achievement doesn’t stop even in 2017 as they grab the second place spot for most weeks at the top of Billboard’s Social 50 chart. They also won in the Music category at this year’s Shorty Awards, an award show that recognizes excellence in social media. They also made it into the Fuse’s “20 Best Albums of 2016” list and it doesn’t end there. On 2017, they also sold out their Wings tour in America in only few minutes. BTS also grabbed a spot in the Top five on Billboard’s weekly Current Boxscore Chart for their “The Wings Tour – 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III” show in Sydney, Australia at the Qudos Bank Arena on May 26, 2017. The concert brought in gross sales of $2,054,650, and filled 11,023 seats out of the venue’s 11,424 capacity.

The group also released their latest album “You Never Walk Alone” on 2017 with their 2 music videos “Not Today” and “Spring Day”. “Not today” holds the record for the fastest K-pop group music video to reach 10 million and 20 million views. Their recent album also was previously at No. 1 following its release in February, and has spent a total of 12 weeks on the chart overall. BTS has now also become the only Kpop group to have omost views on You Tube. According to statistics calculated through Google and YouTube Insights, the group boasts a total of over 4.2 billion views. This includes music videos, behind-the-scenes, dance practice videos, and more of the fun content shared through their channels.

BTS’s popularity is even more impressive because they are represented by a small label Big Hit Entertainment and compete with well-known companies like YG Entertainment (Big Bang, PSY) and SM Entertainment (Girls Generation, Shinee, Exo) that have a monopoly on the industry. Along with being one of the only groups to tour outside of Asia frequently, BTS has gone out of their way to interact with their global fan base by not only updating their Twitter accounts but also they’ve taken advantage of the popularity of live-streaming videos. Each of the members interacts with fans through regular live streams, with English subtitles for international audiences. BTS’ accessibility has helped fans connect with them from all over the world through their personalities just as much as through their music, resulting in one of K-pop’s largest fandoms.

BTS’ “WINGS” confirmed their popularity when it appeared as highest-charting and best-selling K-pop album in the U.S., as BTS jumped bounds ahead of previous Billboard 200-charting K-pop acts. They were also the first K-pop artists to enter to the UK Album Chart. The group outsold albums by 2NE1 and EXO, who held the ranking in 2014 and 2015. After few hours of release of Wings, the album managed to hit No.2 on the Australian iTunes Chart too thus earning their new nickname, “The Next PSY” by KBS News for their undeniably commendable Global Achievements.

After only four years in the K-pop, BTS is not only succeeding fiercely in the industry, but setting a standard for all the bands that will come after them. They also blend individual artistry, which is what the global audience expects in their music, and the K-pop system, which focuses more on the group sound and teamwork. They let out their feelings with their songs that make them and the listeners closer to each other. This septet has something to convey, and has a great marketing strategy that doesn’t alienate non-Korean-speaking fans. Their souls are in their performances because they helped to create them—an investment that makes all the difference between memorizing dance routines like a marionette, and embracing them with passionate, authentic joy. Watching BTS break records and never stopping undoubtedly indicates that they are changing the shape of K-pop in the upcoming days for better and that they have rightfully earned to place their names in the history of K-pop.

Fifth Harmony Drop First Ever Single Minus Camila Cabello

featured image via @fifthharmony on twitter

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Fifth Harmony have officially released their first ever single minus ex-singer Camila Cabello. The song is titled “Down” featuring rapper Gucci Mane.

“Down” is an infectious, upbeat song that fits in perfectly with the current atmosphere of pop music. The beat is mesmerizing, and the chorus immensely catchy. Aside from sound, the lyrics are also quite witty. “You the type that I could bake for, ‘cause baby you know how to take that cake. And I’m the only one you wait for, cause baby, you know I’m worth the wait.” Normani Kordei sings in the second verse.

It doesn’t differ much from previous Fifth Harmony releases, which makes it kind of a safe choice. My one complaint about the song is the lack of powerful vocals. We all know the ladies of Fifth Harmony are fantastic singers, I just wish they showcased their abilities more in this song.

Listening to the single makes me very excited to see what’s next for Fifth Harmony. They are making the best out of Camila Cabello’s exit, and so far so good. You can listen to “Down” by Fifth Harmony below.

Kali Uchis Teams Up With Jorja Smith For First Ever Single “Tyrant”

featured image via iheartcomix.com

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Kali Uchis is someone I have personally been listening to for a while now. Her eclectic blend of pop, R&B, and Latin music is what initially drew me to her music, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

“Tyrant” serves as Kali’s first ever single, as well as the lead single from her currently untitled debut album. She is joined by British R&B singer Jorja Smith, who adds an interesting vibe to the song. According to Kali herself, Tyrant is about, “wanting to stay in the haze of puppy love forever and never face the power struggles, because that’s your only real escape from the cold realities of life.”

“When everything is a riot, you’re my peace and quiet,” Uchis mesmerizingly croons in the first verse. Her vocals are consistently smooth and tend to entrance me while listening. In comes Jorja Smith’s Amy Winehouse-esque vocals in verse three, “place the spark in my life back, now I want to show you how I thank that,” she sings. I personally love the way Jorja and Kali’s vocals blend together, and the badass element they bring to the song.

My one and only complaint about the record is how little Jorja Smith sings. I would have really enjoyed her verse to be longer, but the catchiness and overall infectiousness of the song make up for it. If you haven’t listened to Kali Uchis yet, please check her out. You won’t regret it!

Listen to “Tyrant” by Kali Uchis featuring Jorja Smith below.

‘Harry Styles’ A Track-By-Track Review

On May 12th, 2017, former One Direction member Harry Styles released his highly anticipated debut album. His self-titled debut consists of a mix of ambient rock songs, mellow acoustic numbers, and somber love songs. If you would like to know my thoughts on Harry Styles, keep reading.

1.  Meet Me In The Hallway

Honestly, this song isn’t what I expected solo Harry to sound like. Serving as the album’s opener, “Meet Me In The Hallway” is a gloomy, mysterious, acoustic song about begging for someone’s return despite the pain they put you through. When listening, the song itself tends to put me in a trance. Overall, I’d say I really enjoy this song.

1. Sign Of The Times

By now, I’m sure you’ve this number, but if not, here’s some background. “Sign Of The Times” was released as Harry’s first solo song and the album’s lead single, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Upon first listen, I immediately heard classic rock influences, I was specifically reminded of David Bowie and The Beatles. It clocks in at almost six minutes long, but trust me, it’s well worth every second.

3. Carolina

The moment I first heard this song I instantaneously knew it would become one of my favorites. “Carolina” is a song that just makes you want to let loose and dance. Stylistically, it reminds me of Lady Gaga’s 2016 release Joanne in the sense that it’s a bit country/rock. Another song with obvious classic rock influences, which by now you can tell sets the tone for the whole album.

4. Two Ghosts

You may have already heard of this song due to the buzz it’s created around it’s alleged Taylor Swift-inspired lyrics, but to be honest it’s so much more than that. “Two Ghosts” is a beautifully crafted song about leaving a relationship two completely different people than when you first began dating. The sound is peaceful, mellow, and relaxing whereas the lyrics are a bit pensive.

5. Sweet Creature

When I first heard this song, I didn’t really like it. Although after a few listens it really grew on me. I feel like many of his songs put me in a mood where I want to reminisce about things of the past, but especially this one. His vocals in the chorus are mesmerizing, and the lyrics are heartfelt.

6. Only Angel

The beginning of this record is very ethereal-sounding, almost angelic. Then it takes a complete 180 and flips into an exuberant rock song. “Only Angel” is definitely a song you would want to listen to when you’re in need of an upbeat song to get hyped to. After Carolina, this song is probably my second favorite off the album.

7. Kiwi

Similar to “Carolina” and “Only Angel”, “Kiwi” is a bold, bellowing, pure rock song. I really enjoy the direction Harry is taking with these type of songs as it’s different than anything that’s currently on mainstream pop radio. I feel like this whole record will open doors for more rock music to enter the doors of mainstream radio, which is awesome.

8. Ever Since New York

“Every Since New York” is a folk-style ballad in which Harry sings of hurting, and still wanting more of someone who hurt you. Honestly, it’s not one of my favorite songs but it meshes well with the album.

9. Woman

This is another song I knew I’d like from the moment I heard it. It has a funky and groovy type of feel, yet still very rock influence. The lyrics are about the feeling of jealousy that comes with seeing the person you are interested in be with someone else. I feel like it describes a feeling we can all relate to in one way or another.

10. From The Dining Table

When you really listen to this song, the lyrics are very sorrowful. “Even my phone misses your call, by the way” Harry sings in the first verse. Musically, the sound is very soft, soothing, almost relaxing but at the same time emotional.

Overall, I’d say I really do love this album. It’s very cohesive and different from the One Direction Harry you may be used to listening to, in the best way. Now, I am even more excited to see what direction Harry takes in the future.

Arts/Media

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