K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / MUSIC VIDEOS / REVIEWS

[3 in 1 Review] 3 Veterans of Korean Pop Music are Back w/ New Material

Thanks to the ongoing releases of music this week, I have a few things to enjoy and blog about today.  This week has unveiled new material from three different artists who are already well-known in the K-pop department.

Min Kyung Hoon (former vocalist of BUZZ), Lee Hyori and Rain are veterans in their area of work – rock-ballads, R&B, and Pop music – and have welcomed to the world material worthy of appraisal.

Min Kyung Hoon – It’s Alright

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Odds are you remember this man from his days as frontman of BUZZ (split in 2008) or by his song It Hurts Because it’s Love which he promoted earlier this year.  Younger masses might’ve already forgotten about Min Kyung Hoon, but let me tell you, don’t miss out on his latest digital single, titled It’s Alright, because in some ways, this song is much more than just alright.

I’ll go ahead and say that this guy is one of my favorite Korean singers.  Min Kyung Hoon has a very strong vocal ability, but what kills me on the spot is how it contrasts beautifully with his subtle way of singing.  He has complete control of his voice and his peculiar vibrato is the cherry on top of a mound of ice cream.  It’s Alright is draped with lovely melodies and reinforced with contrasting instrumentation.  I can’t tell you who works with or produces Min Kyung Hoon’s music off the top of my head, but the instrumentation in all of his solo material is astonishingly crafted and it’s one of the reasons I am capable of listening to Kyung Hoon’s music unceasingly.

His obsession with soft ballads may not land him in the number 1 spot on popular music charts, but it goes without saying that Min Kyung Hoon knows how to stitch up some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard from South Korea.

Rain – Love Song


Oh god, Rain could probably make a living from just standing there, flashing his insanely sculpted body to the masses, cashing in millions.  It’s no lie, sex sells nowadays.  Hence the MV (link).

But so does good music, which, fortunately for us, is another area of Rain’s expertise.  His latest song shows a much softer side of Rain.  Love Song opens up with an airy instrumentation that carries well into half of this single.  Because it’s so soft, Rain’s voice pierces through, nicely.  He delivers the verses gently, and ever so slowly with a hair of silence between phrasing, almost as a gesture to the audience to savor every bit as it comes along.

Being the ballad lover I am, I was already sold by the time Rain hit the second stanza.  I dunno, I just have this way of knowing when I will (or will not) enjoy a ballad by the end of the first verse.  I don’t even need a chorus to dictate my opinion when it comes to ballads.

The pacing is good, but the manner in which he ends the song on a high precipice is what I particularly find intriguing.  It’s ingenious work on his behalf.  (sorry to mention that I can not say the same thing about the music video)

Lee Hyori – Swing

You could consider Lee Hyori as the Britney Spears of South Korea, except a lot more sane and down to earth.  (measured more on a popularity basis than with talent)

Her latest song from her forthcoming album (H-Logic) has an unexpected sound, which caused disappointment in some, while others rejoiced.

Swing is melancholy, eeriness and mystery all rolled into one, 5 minute song.  It’s interesting how Swing doesn’t particularly make you sad or ruin your mood, but instead it leaves you kind of hung to dry.  I’ve read the word ‘mellow’ throughout websites and forums and I agree.  To me, the aura of this song is what gives Swing its beautiful quality.

AKP revealed an anonymous description of what someone thought the meaning of this song’s MV might be (link), which makes sense.  (I don’t completely understand Korean, so I’ll vouch for this)

Her voice is delicate and gentle (unlike past Pop-ish songs of hers), but she’s right on the border of singing and talking.  Lee hyori almost sounds as she’s narrating her plight to the audience.  She’s delivering heartfelt lyrics and using those mystical melodies to bring a much-needed emotion into her music.

I wasn’t much of a fanatic of this woman, but when I floated down from the meditative state of mind Swing took me to, I had a change of heart.  I appreciate Lee Hyori’s will to bring a distinct change to the kind of sound she has.  She proves to be a diverse artists, which is a fundamental asset if you’re a mainstream sensation.

– Now, it’s your turn.  What thoughts run through your mind as you indulge in these  brand new songs?  Are we on the same frequency or do we differ?  Let me know, because I enjoy reading what people have to say.

**[NOTE] Sandara Heads are absent in multiple reviews jammed into one post, such as this one…

***…but just as an FYI, all of these songs scored above 4 pineapple-heads. ^^

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9 thoughts on “[3 in 1 Review] 3 Veterans of Korean Pop Music are Back w/ New Material

  1. I HATE when this happens, I wrote a mini review on it right when I heard it and now a day later I find myself putting the song on repeat. Seriously! I listened to it this morning and suddenly found a strange appreciating for it. I’ve been listening to it ALL day. *Sigh*

    I love Rain’s new song though, just LOVE <33 Especially the video ;D

    It's Alright is definitely more than alright, I really like it but if I had to put all of them in order of how much I like them, Rain's song comes 1st, Hyori's 2nd, and Min Kyung Hoon’s 3rd.

  2. i didn’t listen to either bi’s or MKH’s tracks until today but WOW BI!!! i’ve never liked a song by him before but he sounds FAB.

  3. ohhh Rain. Love Song is an awesome song (english ver: not so much). He can portray emotion really well through his singing, so I always enjoy his ballads, such as Love Story and In My Bed. I actually quite liked the MV (apart from his shiny outfit with the cap). He sure likes doing melodramatic MVs though, have you seen Running Away From the Sun?

    Oh, for those who are surprised that Rain is “rapping” in Hip Song, its not his first time. He has been rapping in several other songs in the past, including his featuring in CSJH’s – The Club.

    Also look forward to Hyori’s comeback. Swing really took me by surprise.

    • Yeah, just watched the Running Away from the Sun MV – I dunno how I feel about all of the choreography he likes to add into slower tempo songs. He can’t stay still or something xD

  4. okay, so swing is my absolute fave right now. I love the video, and after finally finding an english subbed version as well as reading an analysis of the video from a close friend of the director i love it even more. it reminds me of an old French movie
    I really like Love Song, despite not being a ballad person normally. Surprisingly, the English version made me appreciate the song even more. Min Kyung Hoon’s song sounds awesome, though I have to admit, everything sounds great when I’m sick – I think it’s all the cold medicine. will definitely check out more of his stuff though

    • -I listened to her title song today (Chitti Chatty Somethin’ or Other) and it’s disappointing – actually, much more after listening to ‘Swing’. I don’t comprehend the idea of making an album with tons of songs that just don’t make sense being put in the same room together. It’s maddening…

      -I’d rather listen to Rain’s songs than to watch him perform them, to be honest. I’m not really on the same page as he is when he’s on stage. And let me just say, Min Kyung Hoon won’t disappoint you. He mainly does ballads, but they’re great ones.


      if you appreciate great instrumentation, this song will satisfy the parts of you that aren’t the ballad type. :D

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