Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The big issue in April was BIGBANG’s grand comeback after four years. The public poured out both concerns and expectations, and the group performed exceedingly on music charts, as expected. On the other hand, the girl bands showed remarkable activities, and especially, Mnet’s Queendom 2 successfully garnered attention. Also, groups like Red Velvet, IVE, and Dreamcatcher promoted their new songs one after another. Let’s take a look at the major albums released in April (Released between April 1st and 30th, the score is out of five stars).
Suho – Grey Suit (April 4th)
Just like his debut album, Suho always chooses an unexpected path. His new solo album, Grey Suit, completely shattered many’s expectations for the songs to be of calming ballad or traditional dance-pop genres. Rather, they take the metal and modern rock genres, making it easy on the ears. The flow kind of breaks with “Hurdle,” but it seems like an attempt to stay in tune with his dancer’s image. The overall tone of the album is closer to pop than Self-Portrait (debut album), but it still focuses on genre-specific expression rather than what’s in the trend. Like Baekhyun, Suho is putting on clothes that fit him well, making him as great of a performer as he was a member of EXO. (★★★)
Kwon Eun Bi – Glitch (April 4th)
“Glitch” has a strange harmony between EDM and strings. It seems like she’s gone all-in for the sound. Performances play such a big part in the current K-pop scene, but “Glitch” is an attractive song just to listen to. Even Kwon Eun Bi’s sharp and straightforward voice is aligned with the song on this album. It may not have fully matured yet, but her detail and control over her voice are impressive. But so far, it seems like her focus is more on the sound and the charm of the song rather than her vocals. It’s a clever project that highlights the strengths and hides the weaknesses, ultimately raising expectations for the singer’s improvement. (★★★)
IVE – LOVE DIVE (April 5th)
LOVE DIVE is another great single following ELEVEN. Even while accommodating most of the concepts required for a new girl group, the song breaks away from what’s obvious by adding the members’ self-directed gaze. Various messages, such as the boldness that only rookies could have, the recklessness toward love, the dignity of loving oneself, and the independent attitude, are all condensed in the lyric “Hold your breath and Love Dive.” I wonder if there are any other lyrics that are as effective as this in popular songs that have to contain all the stories within the limited time of 3 minutes. (★★★☆)
BIGBANG – Still Life (April 5th)
BIGBANG chose a decent bang song to make their long-awaited comeback after four years. The group faces a lot of problems externally, but even looking at the music alone, it’s not that attractive. There’s nothing worth listening to other than the fact that “BIGBANG has released a new song after a long time.’ It just lines up the sound we’ve already heard in their previous tracks, which is quite disappointing. If they chose to make their comeback even after disappointing the public and fans, they had to present a song with a scale and completeness that would satisfy anyone listening to it. (★☆)
MONSTA X – SHAPE of LOVE (April 26th)
MONSTA X’s 11th mini album SHAPE of LOVE sings about “love,” as the title suggests. Rather than grouping the tracks by sound or genre, they made a big frame using messages and materials. Since the group has years of experience, the members’ active participation in the song-making stands out. In particular, Joohoney’s producing ability shown in the title song “LOVE” is exceptional. MONSTA X’s unique musical color blends in well with the song, which delivers love and gratitude to MONBEBE (MONSTA X’s fandom). It’s an attractive song and performance that could appeal to other K-pop fans. However, it was also the case with NO LIMIT released last year; it’s a shame that it stopped somewhere between a good song and a masterpiece. I do hope that a masterpiece like The Dreaming, their second full album in the States, will be released as a full album in Korea. (★★★)
Soyou – Day & Night (April 27th)
Day & Night has decent songs that suit her voice, but considering that this is her “first mini-album,” this is by no means a good project. “Some 2,” which is like part two of the mega-hit song “Some,” is more suitable to be a single album with an aim to see Soyou’s music. It’s too light to be the title of an EP, and above all, I can’t find anything that’s better than “Some.” Despite singing multiple hit songs like “Some,” “Stupid in love,” and “I Miss You,” Soyou still hasn’t established herself fully as a solo artist yet. And this fact becomes more obvious in albums with bigger scales than a single. Now is the time that requires intense contemplation between making use of her strengths and showing a new side of her. (★★☆)
PSY – That That (April 29th)
As proven through IU’s “eight,” Suga perfectly tailors the song to suit the artists. It’s a great talent as a producer. And the fact that Psy’s new song “That That” doesn’t show Suga’s color in it is both an advantage and a disappointment. It met the public’s expectations of Psy, but there is no “new fun.” What’s surprising is Psy’s prowess as an artist. Although it’s his first time collaborating with Suga, the song is harmonious enough to be chosen as the title track. And despite his not-so-young-age, his presence in MV, acting, and performance is still jaw-dropping. K-pop has made sufficient improvements over time, but there’s still no artist that radiates energy as big as Psy. That alone adds meaning to Psy’s comeback. (★★☆)
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.