Welcome back to another week of Best of Weekly Music Shows! We’re officially stepping into spring now, so cue the mid-tempo ballads and songs about blossoming love… or not. This week featured comebacks with some varied concepts — Hyomin with sexy in “Sketch” and Red Velvet with their “velvet” side in “One of These Nights.” As for the first place winners, Mamamoo continued their winning streak on Music Bank (which featured an awkward celebration circle with 2014-2015 girl group rookies), The Show, and Show Champion. Lee Hi is the new contender, taking the award for “Breath” on M! Countdown and Inkigayo. Here are my favourite performances below; enjoy!
Red Velvet’s “One of These Nights,” MBC Show! Music Core, March 19, 2016
Red Velvet is back with their much awaited velvet concept, and the smooth and elegant feeling such a concept implies is not lost on their live performances. Their choreography is a little more interesting than I would have expected from a slow song, with the first half of the dance centered around the mic as a prop, and second half featuring some impressive solo or duo dancing to the side of the stage. I especially like the latter, with its fusion of smooth and sharp movements in time with the music, and it also looks like the choreographer was inspired by Joy’s couple dances on Weekly Idol. In addition, the benefit of these stages is that it allows the performers to focus on their vocals, and “One of These Nights” is certainly a song that allows each member’s vocal colour to shine.
Hyomin’s “Gold,” Mnet M! Countdown, March 17, 2016
Hyomin is back with “Sketch,” but personally I found her stages for non-title track “Gold” more interesting. Not only do we get to see Hyomin playing the keyboard and looking sharp in that stage outfit, the song is also more distinct-sounding, with its synth-infused instrumentation. In addition, the buildup to the high notes in the chorus gives the impression and excitement of flying high, and Hyomin also nails those notes on stage, showing her capabilities as a solo vocalist.
Taemin’s “Drip Drop,” SBS Inkigayo, March 20, 2016
Taemin’s promotion cycle is reaching an end, but not before one final performance of “Drip Drop.” The base line and the layering of female vocals gives the music a unique tone, and its strong rhythmic pulse not only renders the piece pleasing to listen to, it also translates into the choreography, giving rise to a dynamic and eye-catching performance. Of course, Taemin being Taemin, there is also no trade-off between great performance and great vocals, leading to a satisfying finish to this round of promotions.
Lee Hae-ri’s “I Have No Problem,” JTBC Sugarman, March 15, 2016
Among the numerous love-themed songs that seem to dominate the music industry nowadays, a motivational piece like “I Have No Problem” is like a breath of fresh air that I’m glad Hae-ri brought to the foreground with her rendition. Sugarman does an excellent job of showcasing its singers’ vocals; not only does Haeri’s pleasant tone shines through in the video, her skills to as well in the way she effortlessly brings the song to a climax close to the end. The flute was also an interesting addition that helped add serenity to the more quiet parts of the song, and speaking as a biased flutist, I wish it were more commonly employed in such stages in the future.
Twice’s cover of Son Dam-bi‘s “Saturday Night” and Lee Hyo-ri‘s “U-Go-Girl,” Mnet M! Countdown, March 17, 2016
Twice is really getting all those throwback stages — last week, it was “Gee,” and this week it’s 2009 hit “Saturday Night” by Son Dam-bi and Hyori’s 2008 hit “U-Go-Girl.” The styling — makeup and outfit wise — as well as the set actually did a good job of recalling music show stages from 2008-2009, and Twice also played their part in recreating the jams that were the two songs. As one of our editors pointed out, “Saturday Night” is rarely covered compared to “Crazy,” so it was refreshing to see it performed, and “U-Go-Girl” is also as fun as ever — the members brought the energy and a cute quirkiness to their rendition of the song, which made it an enjoyable watch.