[July 9, 2011] MBC Music Core Highlights + Commentary

Guess who's back? And with a recap at that! It's been a while, and I'm starting to get a hang of college life (even if I still have a gazillion assignments to finish this weekend) so I thought I'd do a music show recap this week. And besides, there's a lot to talk about the acts who performed this week - ESPECIALLY CSJH! Even if it's just Dana and Sunday, it's still CSJH!

An explanation first as to why I these music show recaps keep going on and off - for the record, I've never officially said that I'm never going to do them again. This series is something that has done a lot for PRN and has established my writing around kpop circles in general, so it's not something I'm ready to let go of just yet. When I do pause from writing them, it can be due to any or all of the following reasons. One, I'm too busy. I just started college last month and every weekend I'm literally submerged in schoolwork - readings, papers, research - these are things I can't not do. I have priorities, I have to get a degree, I have to do well, I have to do this and that - PRN is one of my priorities, but there are more important ones for me. Two, there aren't enough idol groups with material I have something to say about. When there is a lul in releases from idols, I stop doing recaps because I don't want to do a recap with just 2 or 3 performances. Three, when the line-up gets boring. If, say, there are around 9 acts and all of them have been performing for several weeks now with no one coming back and no one saying "goodbye" - I get bored. And when I get bored, I tend to say the same things over and over again - I'm sure you guys don't want to read a recap that's exactly like the one last week. So I stop.

But now I'm back. I can't guarantee you that I'll go all the way to the end of the year with this "tranche", but remember that I'm not going to completely stop doing these recaps altogether.

Video credit goes to CrazyCarrot270.

N-Train - "One Last Cry"
Weak harmonies at the chorus, the guy who sings first isn't that strong a singer. The guy doing the high notes at the end is OK. The guy who sings second (the bridge?) is amazing though, and so is the guy doing all the gymnastics at the chorus. It's a bland song to start with, with whimpy vocals at the chorus, and if you aren't really concentrating on the performance it's pretty boring until that one guy starts screaming.

Rania - "Masquerade"
These girls can sing, and they've proven that they can sing and dance at the same time and still deliver strong vocals, but honestly, sometimes their performances are far too theatric - like today's. It's perfectly fine to have gimmicks and whatnot because that's what pop is in the first place, but I do wonder now what people are watching Rania for - their material or the choreography. Of course a lot of people watch music in general for the visual aspect, but in Rania's case it's a waste to market them as a "visual" group, so to say, because they have the talent to be more than that. We'll see.

Boyfriend - "Boyfriend"
Before anything, let me just say that their eyes freak me out, especially Blonde guy's. But anyway, their performances so far have been somewhere in between orchestrated to the last step and "let's go prance around stage and have fun" - their vocals are so-so, nothing to rave about, but not especially bad. They did a remix today, and it's a lot edgier than the original, but it's good that their movements and, to a certain extent, their vocals have retained the fun-ish part of the performance. Not bad - just stop freaking me out with your eyes.

Girls' Day - "Hug Me Once"
Too much pink, too much winking - too much pink in general. And it's a waste because the hook isn't half bad when you think about it, it's just that I want to strangle these girls because they're TOO CUTE. It's so annoying, and it's not like any of them have drop-dead vocals hiding under that horrid facade, nor do they have outstanding material. Take me back to "Nothing Lasts Forever", please.

Rainbow - "Sweet Dream"
Wow, their vocals have gotten a lot better since I last watched a live performance. They aren't the best to start with, but their live vocals are a lot more stable now. And add to that the fact that I like the song - Rainbow, I am liking you the more I see you. So now that you have the vocals part pretty much fixed and the material all accounted for, you just need to keep getting better. Which you are. YAY.

f(x) - "Hot Summer"
I expect nothing less than a strong performance from f(x) - and I got it. Surprise of all surprises - Amber sings with a feminine timbre! They tried to hide it in the recording, but live vocals don't lie! Krystal's vocals are getting less and less like her sister's, THANK GOD, and hopefully she develops a nice timbre in the near future. Luna's voice is still as stable and stunning as ever, Sulli's back to getting parts that don't show off her now-existent voice, but Victoria's still getting better and better. A bit more pushing f(x), and you'll be amazing. Hopefully.

Hyun A - "Bubble Pop"
I laugh when people say that Hyun A's a good singer. Like, really laugh. I saw someone comment on a performance of "Bubble Pop" saying something like "OMG she's so good at singing - she's not even a singer!" - seriously? How can you be on a music show and not be a singer? Everyone knows she's not a singer, and it didn't show that much on the recording (for obvious reasons - I'd like to know how much Cube paid to make her sound like she had some semblance of a voice) but my god the presence of a backing track over her non-existent vocals make it even more obvious that she can't hold a melody. At all. Let alone sing. There are lines that she doesn't even sing - period. In all honesty, she's a disgrace to idol group singers. It's so bad, that even if the performance is 90% backing track, 10% Hyun A, you hear the Hyun A over the backing track. Please go back to rapping - you singing makes me actually like "Change".

ZE:A - "Watch Out!"
I actually like this song! The live vocals are a total letdown though, and it's freaky watching them all smile-y with that ridiculous choreography. Will ZE:A please decide what they want to do with their music and image, because I swear, if they release that song on the teaser it's going to be very confusing. And I don't like acts who don't even know who they are.

T-Ara - "Roly Poly"
Still dependent on backing tracks, T-Ara? Not a big fan of the song, the performance, or the vocals, but at least they don't make the throw up with all the cuteness. It's bearable song, and a bearable performance, if you don't think of the heavily backing tracked-vocals.

2NE1 - "I Am The Best"
Not really a big fan of the song, and their hairstyles are ridiculous and distracting, but whatever I do I can't deny the fact that these girls know how to put on a show. What they do, they do well, and that's something to commend. They're not afraid to do all these wild things (with their hair as well), and some people like what they're doing - as long as they have stable, strong vocals and a sense of unity, all of which they have, I'm good. Watching them, regardless of what song they're performing, makes you want to jump around your room like them.

2PM - "Hands Up"
I've never seen 2PM as the "let's just forget everything and jump around stage" band, but it's good that they pull this song off in somewhat an "organized mess", which is a very 2PM-approach to this. The song's insanely catchy, both a blessing and a curse seeing as it goes nowhere if you really listen to it well, but it's perfect for performing. As a whole it's a strong effort.

CSJH (Dana And Sunday) - "One More Chance"
I'm waiting for the official single release with the official audio track before I do a review, but if things work out, I will be doing one - so as much as possible I'll refrain from talking about the song proper too much. But anyway - CSJH ARE BACK. Half of them, at least. On one hand I really wanted Lina and Stephanie to be with them one, because they're my two favorite members and two, because the four of them together are epic in every possible way. That's not to say that Sunday and Dana aren't talented though - their comeback shows all these newer, some of them incompetent, girl groups how things are done around here. Today's performance was much more stable than yesterday's, even with the crappy Music Core sound, which they are immune to (thank goodness), and Dana's vocals, bar the shaky part at the beginning (because that part is virtually un-singable in the first place), are flawless and stunning, and Sunday's much stronger today. The entire performance, even with parts that aren't my taste, has ever step, every note, calculated down to their last breath and pulled off like it's second nature to the girls. Because it IS second nature. A performance in the truest sense of the word.


  1. GracefulshapelycassieJuly 10, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    I was so excited when i heard CSJH was making a comeback, even though it was just the two of the awesome four. I love them all to bits, but if i had to pick a favourite it would Stephanie. Dana and Sunday both have gorgeous voices and took care a lot of the top parts in their songs. I missed Lina and Stephanie because their deep voices added depth to the songs.

    I think Dana and Sunday were nervous when they first performed the song on music bank (its been three years since they performed on those shows as CSJH).

    The only complaint i have is that the vocal treatement in the song (recording) was a little bit similar to F(x). I hate how SME ignores the people with actual talent. Dana did train some of the F(x) members, however, so maybe that's why it sounds similar?

    Groups like Girl's day, ZE:A, and T-ara are just blegh for me. They're too hyped up over -_-

    Hyuna's singing made me cringe, but i think we'll all suffer worse when Uee comes out with her solo album.

    I think 2.PM's new song is just too big bang for me and it has no direction.

    Rainbow is better then KARA, but in my opinion, I still don't like them that much.

    I really wished 2NE1 continued with the indie sound they had in "Lonely". It really showed their vocal abilities.

  2. I really like CSJH, undisputedly the most talented Kpop female group in the last 10 years (this coming from a SONE). But I want a real CSJH comeback, not a half-assed comeback like this one.

    One More Chance is not what I expected, it will take a while to grow on me since I REALLY do not care for the autotuning and the f(x)-like treatment on the recorded version from the MV. With vocals like Dana & Sunday, why even bother adding all these fancy effects and make them mortal when they literally have immortal voices? I liked the live much better, you can hear their voices without those damn effects.

    Honestly, SM could've given them better material than this song, but it's too early to judge I guess. Rumor has it that they will make a full-fledged comeback later on, that's exactly what I want to see, 4 members with some epic material. There are way too many dumbed-down mediocre acts in Kpop right now, real talent is here and it needs to be acknowledged.

  3. I'm probably going to get flak for this, but I don't think CSJH are the "Queens" of k-pop. That title should go to Fin.KL, Baby VOX or S.E.S. I listened to "One More Chance" a grand total of... five times before I got bored. Heck, I've listened to "Bubble Pop" more often! The screams at the end just irritate me. As for CSJH songs... the most I've listened to one is "Boomerang" (11 times). I don't understand this constant fawning over them - there are several groups that can perform on their level or above.

    On a semi-related note: Did you know Rania is supposed to be the third generation of Baby VOX?


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