It’s the beginning of June, which means the month of busy comebacks has begun! Things are off to a good start, with this week seeing the return of two powerful contenders, Big Bang and Exo. Meanwhile, Shinee, now two weeks into their comeback, proved they’re still going strong by sweeping up the first place wins on all major music shows. This week showcased a number of great performances, so without further ado, here are my picks for the week:
“Don’t Go,” Lee Hae-ri & Shin Yong-jae, KBS Immortal Song 2, June 6, 2015
This cover of Lee Seung-chul’s “Don’t Go” is simple but beautiful — the piece in itself is devoid of much vocal ornamentation, and Hae-ri and Yong-jae didn’t try to add any for the most part, relying entirely on their voices and harmony to carry the song. Their delicate vocals conveyed a wealth of emotion in the beginning and during the bridge of the song, while their high notes close to the end were wonderfully resonant. The two singers also matched well: the harmony created by the mix of their timbres was one of the best parts of the performance.
“Cupid,” Kara, MBC Show! Music Core, June 6, 2015
With Kara’s most recent comeback, I can’t say I’m enjoying the title track much. However, this performance is eye-catching, if not for its visuals alone. Although Kara is undoubtedly a pretty group, their makeup here really brings out each member’s beauty, and they’ve finally ditched the cowboy concept in favour of stage outfits that are more elegant and that match better with the set. The visuals give the performance a more mature and sophisticated air that matches both Kara’s image and the song better, helping somewhat redeem the latter.
“Daydream,” Kim Sung-kyu, MBC Show! Music Core, June 6, 2015
Aside from performances of his double title tracks, Sung-kyu is now treating us to a live of another song on his album, along with an appearance by fellow member Hoya to cover for Tablo’s rap parts in “Daydream.” The lack of a particularly elaborate stage in his recent solo stages works in his favour, as it forces the viewer to focus on his vocals, which in this performance are as impeccable as usual. Hoya is also exuding charisma in his short appearance. I would say Hoya’s rapping has a different flavour to it compared to Tablo’s feature but cannot be judged as better or worse; instead, the piece benefits from the creation of slightly different rendition.
“Love Me Right,” Exo, MBC Show! Music Core, June 6, 2015
So after that football performance on their way to Music Bank happened, Exo proceeded to bring their football jerseys on stage for this performance of “Love Me Right,” complete with those mismatched baseball caps. The song this comeback-round is solid, and performances like this just round it off for me. Their synchronisation was on point as usual, their live singing was great, D.O’s expressions were swoon-worthy, and, most importantly, it seemed like the members were genuinely enjoying the stage, which adds to the viewers’ enjoyment as well.
“We Like 2 Party,” Big Bang, Mnet M! Countdown, June 4, 2015
There were a number of great Big Bang stages this week, from this performance to “Bang Bang Bang” to their throwbacks to their older hits on Yoo Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook, but I went with this live of “We Like 2 Party” in the end, purely based on how fun the stage was to watch. It’s a very toned down and bright song that differs from both Big Bang’s usual strong and crazy images, but the members pulled it off very naturally. Highlights of the performance include T.O.P ignoring choreography and doing his own thing in the chorus, Daesung hopping around in the background and the sheer amount of maknae-bullying that went on during Seungri’s part. The styling is praiseworthy too, and I mainly say that because we’re being treated a glimpse of Daesung’s eyes after a month of so of that horrendous hairstyle.