Welcome to another week of Best of Weekly Music Shows! It’s been a dry spell around here lately, but groups are steadily returning to the stage with Red Velvet, BTOB, and Boyfriend kicking off comebacks this week. We were also treated to several debuts from a few lovely solo acts, including Raina, Nam Young-joo, and Bernard Park.
This week Ailee won top honors on Mnet M!Countdown and KBS Music Bank, while TaeTiSeo took home first place on MBC Music Core. Meanwhile, on SBS Inkigayo, solo singer Kim Dong-ryul took first place. The Hallyu Dream Concert was also broadcast on SBS this week, unfortunately with some lackluster camerawork. Nonetheless, let’s jump to the best performances of the week. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Lee Ye-joon feat. Boys Republic‘s Sung-jun, “I Can’t,” SBS Inkigayo, October 12, 2014[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoFi0WFeD-U]
Some reality show fans may remember Lee Ye-joon as the winner of the second season of The Voice Korea. She debuted back in January of this year but has returned with a fresh ballad this time. Her vocals are so strong and clear, completely standing out from most of the fare on music shows. The presentation may be a bit understated, and her management seems to favor pairing her with featured artists to boost the star power, but there’s no question that Ye-joon can carry a stage with her voice alone.
Red Velvet, “Be Natural,” MNet M!Countdown, October 11, 2014[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCC-blref_4]
I have a lot of mixed feelings on “Be Natural” as Red Velvet’s follow-up. The whole performance is somewhat alienating to people like me who just want to figure out what SM is trying to do with this group, but I can’t deny that the “Be Natural” aesthetic is one that I love on paper and in practice. The suits, the chairs and the classy lounge vibe all make a lovely stage. It’s largely borrowed, of course, but still good. Seulgi continues to be phenomenal in her stage presence; I find myself watching her the most onstage. The girls could all work on selling the movements onstage (sometimes the choreography looks a little unnatural — no pun intended), but Red Velvet is doing well with the material and offering something a bit unique from their contemporaries.
Roy Kim, “Home,” MNet M!Countdown, October 9, 2014[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr0m9FyvBic]
Roy Kim had a particularly beautiful stage on M!Countdown this week. I may be biased since I’m a sucker for live orchestras, but the ambience fit the style of “Home” well in its simplicity and elegance. As a vocalist, Roy Kim has tons of quirks that make seemingly plain ballads feel special, and I quite liked the folksy, even-tempered mood of “Home.”
Nam Young-joo, MBC Music Core, October 11, 2014[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNKNfHWSSJk]
I was immediately drawn to Nam Young-joo’s debut this week. Young-joo may have been only a top 10 contestant on K-pop Star 3, but she seems to have great connections: her debut song “Fragile and Kind” was written, composed and produced by CNBLUE’s Jonghyun. He did a great job. “Fragile and Kind” is a great song, just the kind of angsty, breathy tune that’s bound to get stuck in my head at some point. I do not, however, like the excessive hand choreography, but Nam Young-joo does well with the material. I’m happy to see more performers on music shows that haven’t gone down the traditional idol track. They bring something different to the stage that feels fresh.
DICKPUNKS, Soyeon (T-ara), Youngji (KARA), Jieun (Secret), Jiyoon (4Minute), “Silla’s Moonlight,” SBS Hallyu Dream Concert Special, October 12, 2014[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH0QJc70LlQ]
I could rant about some of the camerawork in the SBS broadcast for hours, but I did find a gem. The “Silla’s Moonlight” special stage was very well done, with a strong group of vocalists that meshed surprisingly well together. Everyone did a great job, but Jieun’s voice sounded especially vibrant throughout the performance.