[December 17, 2010] KBS Music Bank YEAR-END SPECIAL Highlights + Commentary


Out of the blue, after writing up all the posts I have to for tomorrow, I stumbled upon Music Bank's year-end special, with everyone performing hits from earlier this year. Then I got the brilliant idea of writing up a recap - this is as much a year-end thing for me as it is for them as I'll be able to trace the improvements, or deteriorations, of the idol groups who were on today.

Needless to say, I'm over my writer's block, and I'm so making the most out of this break.

Today was truly an extravaganza, I couldn't even count the number of performances because there were so many! This recap does not include those specials like the boyband guys doing that Orange Caramel songs, the dance-offs and so on and so forth. ALSO, because of the large number of performances, I'm only recapping selected performances from idol groups + idols only. No FT Island, I'm afraid - bands are just not my turf, except for that CN Blue song that I just have to recap.

YT credits to whoever uploaded the videos. I'm sorry - too many videos, too little time, and my head's starting to ache. Stupid cold.

SISTAR - Push Push + How Dare You
And I see SISTAR still haven't learned a thing about performing with the least bit of grace. It's been what, more than half a year already and 3 rounds of promo? Half of the group have shown me raw talent, but I'm afraid that's not enough for a band of their calibre. I know it's pretty much discrimination, but the truth of it is that unless you have the backing of a major agency with enough money to pour into your road to success, you need to stand out and really be better than every single band out there. SISTAR do not, and are not. On top of not being either, there are times when they're just plain pathetic - How Dare You has got to be one of the cheapest sounding, grace-less songs ever, and their stage presence doesn't help one bit.

Miss A - Bad Girl Good Girl + Breathe
I will say that Miss A neither deserve nor not deserve the truckloads of MAMAs they won a few weeks back - they got them, fine fantastic, DEAL WITH IT. At least they didn't go to SISTAR or Nine Muses for heaven's sake - would you rather those go to them? I think not. I will say that Miss A have the talent and the potential to succeed in the future - will someone just give them a decent song, please? They perform it well, no doubt, but with a good song they will simply soar.

Rainbow - A + Mach
A is still not a song, but the kinda pulled it off decently now. I've always liked Mach, just never admitted it, and to be honest with you all Rainbow have to do is stop trying to sound like KARA and better what they've done with Mach - once they've done that I'm all good. They have the group dynamic and maybe even the presence, so a word of wise to DSP - GET THEM GOOD SONGS!

CN Blue - I'm A Loner
Ahhh yes, CN Blue. I remember writing about them a lot earlier this year, but I will admit that I still don't own a copy of any of their albums or singles, whether virtual or physical. After I write this up I'll scramble for one. Anyway. There's nothing to complain about with these guys, really - they're a band who work together well. I still think Jonghyun has a much better voice than Yonghwa and that their drummer should be given more credit AND PUT CLOSER TO THE REST OF THE BAND GODDAMNIT, but other than that there was nothing they had to work with in the first place. I'm pleased that drummer dude isn't a whole building away from the rhythm section, but I'm still not completely happy - he should be closer for heaven's sake! May I please whack KBS in the head now?

T-Ara - Ya Ya Ya + I Go Crazy Because Of You
What. Was. That. It reminds me of that American-indian inspired thing MC Mong had out sometime ago. I didn't like that. And MC Mong had a bit of talent. T-Ara have the equivalent of none, or at least that's what they're showing on this song. They're decent performers, but they can't sing, and the song is a lost cause. Therefore, we move on. Thankfully.

Secret - Madonna + Magic
I like Secret. Have I said that I like Secret? I like Secret - they have talent, they have stage presence, they have sophistication (even if Madonna got a little too cheap-ish) and they work extremely well as a group. They've improved since the last time I actually seriously watched a performance of theirs, and I'm honestly really excited about their future, albeit a but scared since HoMin are set for a comeback at around the same time and I don't want them overshadowed like every time they release a single because they really do deserve praise. They performed Magic better than Madonna though, if I may say so. And I like Magic better, I can now conclude.

BEAST - Breath
I like BEAST too. But to be honest with you, Breath was the BEAST single I watched over the least this year. I kinda regret it now. Everyone's really improved vocally this year - their live vocals are much more stable and they've starting to all develop their own quirks. Add that to their already-brilliant stage presence and group dynamics and you have genius. Yoseob's high part was shaky at times and he was relying on the backing track for a while, but he pulled it off, and for a band like them, that's a big thing. I now have even more respect and excitement for BEAST. And I had a lot already, mind you.

4Minute - HuH
Wow. Everyone's vocals were spot-on today, and the performance was eye-catching, to say the least - they're one of the proofs that going to Japan will really help Korean idol groups. The girl with the bob-ish hair (don't know her name, sorry) could very well be my favorite voice in 4Minute, and the leader if she shapes up even more than she already has. Definitely one of this year's biggest improvements performance-wise - I like. And the dance at the end was a nice addition, even if I know nothing about dance.

2AM - Even If I Die, I Can't Let You Go Live + You Wouldn't Answer My Calls
Gorgeous voices are great, but gorgeous voices with years of training and practice that gel together perfectly are what happens to every band in a perfect world. Sadly, this is not a perfect world, and so that holds true for only a handful of bands. 2AM is one of them. They may not dance their legs off or prance around stage, but they know that they can get your attention with their vocals, and they do. Extremely well. With songs worthy of their magnificence. I have no words for how well they do it, so just watch the performances and revel in the brilliance. *sits back for a while and watches with you*

2PM - Without U + I'll Be Back
I like the re-arrangement of Without U, but that's about it. Their vocals have gotten a tad bit better and I still like Wooyoung the best, but again, that's about it. They're synchronized and all, yeah, and I'll Be Back is a decent song, but they honestly bore me. I don't know if it's because they're trying too hard or they really are boring - they kinda remind me of an older version of MBLAQ with more money spent on them and more talent. And you know what I think about MBLAQ.

IU - Good Day
I like this song! I also have a lot to say about IU, so I'm saving it for a full-length review, after all the chaos that is my end-of-year extravaganza. Anyway. IU has grown a lot vocally, and it's not really obvious, but I hear faint traces of her voice beginning to sound like a young Hwayobi. WHAT DID I TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT THAT VOICE? She may have started out young and squeaky, but she was what, 15? 15 year-olds singing pop songs are supposed to sound like that. I know, I was once 15. Voices grow for heaven's sake, so just because she sounds her age doesn't mean she isn't a good singer - look at her now, and watch her in the future. As she grows older, her voice will deepen and I know that it will turn out gorgeous. I may not be able to predict hits, but I know if a young singers's voice will turn our fantastic. IU will be more than fine.

SHINee - Lucifer
Oooooooohhh yessss. I would've wanted to see all 5 of them dancing, performing the song how it should be, but the near-perfect vocals clearly make up for that. Jonghyun sounds like himself, reckless at times but when kept in check is nearly brilliant, Key sounds like a deteriorated version of himself last year, and he's probably my biggest regret of them all, he was once my favorite ballad singer in the band. Minho is still not singing and I'm fine with that, Taemin is slowly turning into Jaejoong and I hate to say this but I TOLD YOU SO. AGAIN. Told you guys I know how to spot a good voice when I see it - Taemin is just a year older than me, his voice was still growing when I acknowledged his brilliance and look at him now. Now, Onew. *takes a deep breath* ONEW I STILL WANT TO MARRY YOUR VOICE, LET'S SET A DATE RIGHT NOW - I'M READY. Starring in a musical, no matter how bad his hair was, paid off big time - his already-gorgeous voice learned the value of control, and he executes his lines with a lot more body and conviction. I am convinced. Now, you throw these 4 voices and 5th rapper together, and you get magic. It's a different kind of magic from DBSK's, but special all the same. For all of SME's mistakes and disrespect this year, I won't deny that they know how to put a band together, market them and make them into stars, sometimes, if they like them enough, they even manage to give them the right songs. This year's biggest k-pop yes, I am giving to SHINee. Willingly.

KARA - Jumping + Lupin
I think I've said it enough, but KARA really do have crap live vocals. They've gotten better, I will say, but they're far from good. It's a shame really, they have these fantastic songs with some of the best production I've heard this year and what could be some of the best performances from a girl group as well, and they go ruin everything with their pathetic vocals. Gyuri's gotten decent, Nicole and Seunghyun consistent, but there are 5 girls in KARA, and 3 girls being just near-decent is clearly not enough. KARA could very well be my biggest frustration of 2010. I mean look, they have fantastic songs, you know that already, they can perform well as a group and they have the backing of an almost-big 3 agency, what more could you ask for? Right, BETTER VOCALS.

Son Dambi - Queen + DP Rider
I don't know why, but watching her perform Queen is nostalgic - it reminds me of the time I was doing my music show recaps, maybe because this was one of the songs whose promo I really followed. Her vocals have gotten stable, and that's all she really had to do back then, so I'm pleased. I like the chorus, to be honest with you, and so hearing her do it a lot better than earlier this year is a relief. So she can do it decently. DP Rider is a little odd - it hardly has a solid melody during the verses, then she suddenly can't sing again. It's all style and no substance, but I guess her performance makes up for it, one way or another. If there's one thing to praise Son Dambi on this year, it's that she can command the stage like it's second nature.

Super Junior - Bonamana
This is one of the biggest improvements this year. I don't know if it's because this is the first time I've heard the song again in ages or because they really have improved a hell of a lot. I can actually hear Heechul now, and Yesung sounds epic. I was actually wondering why Yesung wasn't put in SM The Ballad, to be honest with you, but I'm glad SM didn't put Ryeowook in. Anyway. Even with just 10 of them, their group dynamic still overflows. Even if there are times when they're not 100% synchronized, you know they work together well and they're really all performers - I call it the SME touch. Everyone sounds fantastic, if I may say so. And I see they've resurrected the dance break we all know and love. Gosh, this is all really nostalgic for me now - has it really been that long?

SNSD - Oh! + Hoot (WINNER)
I don't know what to say, really. On one hand, Oh! was almost completely mimed and that sucks, but on the other hand, Hoot was pretty decent, for SNSD standards. Taeyeon was great, Seohyun was consistent, and Tiffany was non-existed due to her injury, so I have no one else to compliment tonight. Yuri did a sloppy version of Tiffany's line, Sunny still sounds horrid, and you can hardly hear Yoona, is the girl even singing? Jessica still annoys the hell out of me and it's not funny anymore because you can hardly hear her, and Sooyoung's getting better while Hyoyeon's getting better at sounding like the Yunho of SNSD. Hurrah. There were good points to the performance, namely times when Seohyun and Taeyeon sang, but that's 2 girls and there are 6 others. I will now refrain from saying anything else.


  1. Yes! SHINee! For me, this is the best Lucifer performance in terms of vocals. Key's voice was not strained unlike in their previous Lucifer perfs and Jonghyun's vocals weren't flying off. Aside from that, Onew's voice didn't crack. The mics were good, everything was perfect. And I agree that Lucifer is the biggest kpop song this year.

  2. I agree with Anna too! Lucifer is the Best song of this year as well as the Best Album. But I think they got overshadowed by BoA. If she didnt make a comeback when they were doing promos for Lucifer, they wouldve won more Music Bank awards as well as others. Oh well.

  3. Onew was the most stable and consistent performer during Lucifer promos even with the musical going on. I think he only had trouble over a 2-wk period at the start of ROA rehearsals bec he also had SM Town KR & Lucifer promos. His voice was strained for 3 wks though after that Nov 21st Rock of Ages perf in Masan. Glad to see his voice/throat is all better now.

    Re Key - I agree and I'm not really sure what happened to him bec he used to have such a nice voice (e.g. In My Room & Romantic performances in 2008). Such a shame really - he got worse as Taemin is getting better. Taemin kept practicing so I wonder if Key simply stopped as SHINee got more popular. I wish Minho would also improve his live vocals. Glad Jonghyun's voice is getting better but I think Hot Times will just make it get worse again though.

    Lupin is the song that made me like Kara. I am glad their live perfs are getting better but true, it would be interesting to have someone with strong vocals sing Lupin.

  4. I really agree with you about Jessica's voice. People love her voice so I decide to listen to it(to change my mind), but for goodness sake, I dislike it even more. Her voice is somewhat nasal, thin and girly.Can't stand it.


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