With the closing of this week, we’re settling into more of the January comebacks and feeling the new season of K-pop upon us. Ailee and TVXQ both enjoyed wins this week, while Girl’s Day’s Hyeri worried many when she fainted during the filming of M! Countdown, likely due to a combination of illness and exhaustion. There were comeback and debut performances galore this week, and here are the notables from my end.

GOT7’s “Follow Me” and “Girls, Girls, Girls,” Mnet M!Countdown, January 16, 2014

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPZcfdc-PHQ] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcqieClGSyI]

JYP Entertainment’s new boy group is somewhat of an anomaly for me. I find it so interesting that the group intentionally pairs masculinity and sexiness with a more-than-obvious cutesy vibe, but I suppose that’s better than being disingenuous by presenting an image all about swag and hip-hop cool. Some of these boys have great charisma on stage despite their status as rookies, particularly Jackson and JJ. In fact, the former’s stage presence reminded me of Taeyang.

The choreography for both “Follow Me” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” is too focused on stunts to be cohesive, but the members all have a strong handle on the material they’re presenting. Overall, I think GOT7 has a lot of potential, but I can’t honestly say I’m sure of what vision JYP has for this group. The sound of “Girls, Girls, Girls” could be easily transmittable to 2PM, but intro song “Follow Me” and the performance style is something wholly different. JYPE seems to have a better track record with material for girl groups, but I can’t say I’m completely opposed to whatever he has brewing with GOT7.

Rumble Fish’s “The Virulent Song” featuring IRON, KBS Music Bank, January 17, 2014

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkoksDv-CSQ]

I enjoyed all of the aesthetics of Rumble Fish’s comeback with “The Virulent Song.” Vocalist Choi Jin-Yi, the only remaining member of the group after their 2010 disbandment, has a unique and powerful voice, capable of the jazzy sexiness of the song. The performance, complete with microphone stands and well-dressed backup dancers, almost feels like a cabaret performance until guest star IRON comes in for a brief solo. “The Virulent Song” is so effortlessly stylish as a song and as a performance, and it was certainly a breath of fresh air for me this week.

TVXQ’s “Something,” KBS Music Bank, January 17, 2014


It’s pretty difficult to single out one TVXQ performance as exceptional every performance of “Something” has been solid in just about every way imaginable, but it’s the little things about this week’s Music Bank performance that made the January 17th performance my personal favorite.

The set design, the backup dancers, the outfits, the camerawork…everything just worked well visually for me. And of course, the vocals and dancing were crisp and on point. I like that “Something” brings out a level of showiness in both Yunho and Changmin. It really makes you believe they’re having fun onstage, especially Yunho, whose charisma is always front and center in the most endearing of ways.

B1A4’s “Love Then” and “Lonely,” KBS Music Bank, January 17, 2014

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY5Lb5bNB7A]

B1A4 really charmed me this week with “Lonely”. The song makes for such an easy listen, and while the choreography is on the simple side, it’s mostly complimentary to the sound. “Lonely” picks up momentum towards the end, with a brief solo spot for Sandeul and a really pleasant-sounding outro.

Intro song “Love Then” kept in line with the theme B1A4 is committing to for the comeback. The harmonies are sweet, and I can imagine the song playing in a cafe on a chilly afternoon. It’s nothing special, but it’s definitely mellow and easy on the ears. This time around, B1A4’s comeback was really solid, and I’m looking forward to more performances from them in the coming weeks.

Ailee’s “Singing Got Better,” SBS Inkigayo, January 19, 2014

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd19a3SWmLc]

Ailee continues with her slew of strong performances of “Singing Got Better” on SBS Inkigayo. Nicholas was right last week when he said that this song allows for a more elegant presentation of Ailee’s vocals without being too heavy-handed or showy. “Singing Got Better” is a ballad with a lot of feeling, and Ailee gives the right level of expression to convey the meaning of the song. While her other songs were more focused on blatant belting, I think “Singing Got Better” provides the most mature showcase of her skills.

(Dailymotion,YouTube [1][2[3[4][5], KBS, MNet, SBS)