Welcome back to the Best of Weekly Music Shows! It was a slow week this week, with Pentagon as the only notable debut, alongside comebacks from Ladies’ Code and Davichi. However, the return of BTS more than makes up for any lag in terms of buzz. Congratulations to Shinee for winning literally all the trophies with “1 of 1”. Still, a slow week for new songs doesn’t mean it’s a slow week for great stages. These are my favorite performances of the week.
BTS’ “Am I Wrong?”, Mnet M!Countdown, October 13, 2016
There’s no doubt that BTS killed this comeback, and picking just one stage of theirs was quite tricky. Yet, “Am I Wrong?” won out in the end. It’s not as polished as “21st Century Girls” or “Blood, Sweat, and Tears”, but that’s probably why I like it so much. The rougher look, the slight discrepancies in movement make “Am I Wrong?” feel more casual and relaxed. It draws the audience, treating them as old friends, rather than taking the superstar route of blowing us away.
Ailee‘s “Home”, Arirang Simply K-Pop, October 14, 2016
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the superstar route, as demonstrated by Ailee. “Home” is full of runs and long notes that she belts out with no apparent difficulty and enough heartbreak to make the audience crave vicarious ice cream. But what cinches this stage is the camerawork. Yes, really. The cuts and long takes are matched to beats and shifts in the music, responding to the music to emphasize Ailee’s aloneness and strength equally. This cameraman needs a raise and promotion ASAP.
Dal Shabet‘s “Fri.Sat.Sun”, KBS Music Bank, October 14, 2016
Dal Shabet has long been one of my guilty pleasures, but stages like this always make a case for removing the guilt. The quartet is playing “Fri.Sat.Sun” for smirks and playfulness, as it demands. The whole routine is crisp, clean, and coy, with an air of maturity and experience that is all too rare. The gorgeous red-on-black styling is just the cherry on top.
Monsta X‘s “Fighter”, MBC Show! Music Core, October 15, 2016
There is so much to enjoy here I don’t even know where to begin. “Fighter” is loaded with bombast and tinged with a rough, 80s rock sound. Their vocals match the roughness perfectly, the dance is powerful and dominant while retaining some serious fluidity, especially with the formations. Hands down, though, the styling is what makes this, crafting a separate narrative from the MV that is instantly understandable by the audience. Sweaty, grimy, and ratty; it paints Monsta X as the lower-class guys offering themselves as white knights for an upper-class girl because that’s all they have. It immediately provides a stronger emotional context for the song, making it resonate more. All through unorthodox wardrobe choices.
Shinee’s “1 of 1”, SBS Inkigayo, October 16, 2016
You didn’t really think I’d leave Shinee off this list, did you? What is there to say? This has everything needed for a killer live stage. Flawless harmonies? Check. Solid vocal performances from every member? Present. Sharp, stunningly cohesive dancing, performed with a cheeky bent designed to melt fangirl and fanboy hearts? Got it. So-lame-it’s-cool styling? Double check. Shinee is just phenomenal.
Those are my favorites of the week. Think I missed one? Leave them in the comments!