Weekly Rundown: Surprises all around courtesy of SPICA, U-Kiss, Rania, and THE GODS

So if you guys have noticed, my "experiments" have been making things shorter and shorter, and that's mainly because I want to keep blogging, but there's only so much I can do without self-destructing. So, this weekly rundown will be on trial hopefully for the next three or four weeks. Basically what I'm gonna be doing is briefly talking about three or four of my favorite releases. Yup. It's not meant to be a complete replacement for proper single, or album, reviews, but an addition. If ever I do manage to write a full review in the near future.

What that said, shall we?

SPICA - "I'll Be There"
I remember SPICA as that group with lots of potential to do well, brought down by the fact that "Pain Killer" was a snooze-fest. I saw the talent when it was in front of me, but their song made them forgettable. Which is why "I'll Be There" was like the pleasant surprise of all pleasant surprises -- for a number of reasons.

First of all, it's far from a snooze-fest, bringing back those 90's Swedish-penned pop feelings in the bucketfuls, but not compromising quality. Off the top of my head, this sounds like Christina Aguilera's "Come On Over" (which I adored, by the way), laced with the girl group elements of Atomic Kitten's "The Tide Is High". And from what I've observed, majority of K-Pop fans are around my age, which means this is the music they, we, grew up with, whether it was liked or not. That alone gives this song bonus points. "I"ll Be There" captured the essence of 90's pop -- from all the standard 90's instruments and chord progressions, the emphasis on belting, all the way down to that short 90's dance break loop under the rap part. Sorry, A Pink, "MY MY" was great and all, but SPICA's execution slays you any day.

And taking off from that, the one thing I really, really love about the 90's sound they're going for is the fact that they really focused on their vocals. This is probably one of the notable few songs where neither the vocals nor the instrumental overpower each other, but you're still given that chance to really hear every dimension of the vocals. Of the harmonies. The harmonies! They're so Destiny's Child-esque, if Destiny's Child ever switched to Swedish pop.

SPICA, you've shot up to my "rookies to keep watching" list.

U-Kiss - "Stop Girl"
So what's surprising about the U-Kiss single? Well, not just this single in particular, but I've been liking their releases this year significantly more than years ago. "Stop Girl" isn't amazing from head to toe, because that hook is horrible, but it has it's moments, moments I'd gladly listen to again.

I like the over-all sound they're pushing, it's slightly more epic and slightly less cheap, but still U-Kiss at the core. I like the verses, because they make the epic but thin instrumental more rounded and give it more body, but I hate the chorus because the melody is way too sharp to the ears. The one part of the chorus that I do like though, is the last "Stop girl, in the name of love", because it was a lot more straightforward and the harmonies were a lot clearer, giving it the body I was looking for on the rest of the song.

This could be the type that gets better with time, who knows maybe come December I'll be worshipping this in it's entirety, but for now it just sounds off. I still adore those verses though.

Rania - "Style"
I must've missed something, because I see this new Rania single and there are only five girls left? Weren't there more of them? I'm kind of sad over the way Rania turned out, because while I wasn't the biggest fan of "Dr. Feel Good", the talent was there. "POP POP POP" was an okay song, but everything else about that promotional cycle was really sad. They're back this year with a YG-penned song, which is another surprise.

It's an okay song, with no big "but"'s, except for the fact that it's just okay. I like the melody, the synths are deliberately cheap and the vocals match the song well, but there's really no big wow factor. The reason why groups like 2NE1 (mainly 2NE1) can pull these songs off well is because they have the presence to carry the song. Sometimes they do tend to go overboard, but it's that going overboard that makes things interesting. Rania have presence too, I watched the video and it was a little better, but their presence doesn't have enough strength so they end up looking, and sounding, very generic.

And it's back to square one.

DBSK/HoMin - "Catch Me" (Teaser)

So I watched the first teaser after all the hype had died down (I had school okay, and I was sobbing all the way through), and I don't know if that caused it, but I'm not head-over-heels. Surprise, surprise! But then again, I had no idea what to expect because this is my beloved HoMin and I want them to do well. I just don't know what to make of the song -- I'll have to wait for the full song to come out before I freak out over the awesomeness or over the fact that I'm not freaking out.

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