Welcome to Best of Weekly Music Shows! In the latest week of the great summer comeback rush, we had Stellar, Gfriend, N*White, NC.A, Sonamoo, Z.Hera, Maman, and Hello Venus all making their way back to the stage. Wanna.B debuted with “Attention,” and Infinite swept the awards on most of the shows, except SBS Inkigayo where Girls’ Generation won with “Party”, making “Bad” feel less bad meaning bad and more bad meaning good. Bad references aside, here are my picks for the week. Please be sure to comment with your favorite performances below!
Got7‘s “Just Right” on SBS Inkigayo, July 26, 2015
Got7 are a pleasure to watch on stage. Not only is “Just Right” my favorite k-pop release of the summer so far, but the performances have been a riot. The boys are polished and are able to show off their goofiness in a light-hearted, feel-good style. The set and styling is colorful, and the guys ham it up to the right proportions.
Btob’s “It’s Okay” on MBC Show! Music Core, July 25, 2015
Another feel good song in a different tone, “It’s Okay” makes you feel inspired to persevere through tough times. Their performance is built on the strength of their vocalists and rappers helping it to stand out on the merit of their delivery. I love that each person can share a part of the spotlight by being at the center mic surrounded by a chorus of chairs.
Mamamoo‘s “Um Oh Ah Yeh” on MBC Show! Music Core July 25, 2015
Mamamoo almost always deliver on stage. “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is a commercial success for the group. They were able to deliver a top ten hit with a lot of longevity. Their stages further cemented their talented reputations as they continued to improvise bits of their performance to give the audience something fresh each time. I am curious if Mamamoo will stick to this more pop heavy style for their next release or if they will go back to something jazzier again, but for now, it is still awesome to see them enjoying themselves on stage.
Gfriend’s “Me Gustas Tu” on SBS Inkigayo, July 26, 2015
Gfriend’s sound and image have remained fairly consistent across their two releases so far. “Me Gustas Tu” retains that familiar light pop ditty that “Glass Bead” paraded. Their dancing is tight, and as a group they seem to move with one breath. They’re a well oiled unit and continue to impress even if their music isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.
Infinite’s “Bad” on Mnet M!Countdown, July 23, 2015
Infinite’s performance of “Bad” on M! Countdown was a standout showing. They are as sharp as ever, and Woohyun‘s extra adlib at the end cut through in a surprising way. As a group, they have grown a lot — highlighting the strengths of their dance line and utilizing choreography that emphasizes the dynamics of their song.
Girl’s Day‘s “Ring My Bell” on KBS Music Bank, July 24, 2015
It has been a tumultuous promotional period for Girl’s Day. The “Ring My Bell” promotions were plagued with one controversy after another. Unfortunately, much of the focus was driven away from the music. In this case, “Ring My Bell” is standard fare that falls in line with all the other releases this summer. The song is not great but catchy enough to have you humming it after a couple of repeated listens, and the choreography also features a neat illusion of a bicycle. Too bad those details were lost amongst the sea of controversies.
Stellar’s “Vibrato” on MBC Show Champion, July 22, 2015
I was short-sighted in my review of Stellar’s “Vibrato” earlier this week. As you know, the k-pop machine has many cogs operating behind the scenes, and a concept doesn’t necessitate artistic autonomy. Also, an interview that Stellar had given illuminated that they weren’t 100% okay with the sexualized image their company puts forth, and that’s what makes this case complicated and sad. “Vibrato” is a likely one of the better girl group songs of the summer but if their company has to exploit them to get attention, then that becomes a problem. Stellar can own their sexuality but if they’re being pushed to boundaries where they feel uncomfortable — whether that be driven by the public overlooking them or by their company’s desperate moves — then the danger of exploiting k-pop performers becomes a major concern. Aside from that, these ladies perform this song wonderfully.
Hyukoh‘s ” Wi Ing Wi Ing ” and “Big Bird” on MBC Infinite Challenge, July 25,2015
While Zion T‘s short performance of “Eat” on Jeju Island was nice and breezy, Hyukoh’s guerrilla concert performances showed why their songs are topping the charts in Korea. The Highgrnd signed act has been absolutely shredding it on stage and have amassed themselves a nice following especially since appearing on Infinite Challenge this summer.