With the passing of another week, it’s time for another edition of Best of Weekly Music Shows! This week unfortunately doesn’t offer a very wide pick in terms of music shows, given neither M! Countdown nor Music Bank featured any new performances, but on the bright side, the broadcasts that did air this week saw the comeback of Soyu and Kwon Jung-yeol of 10cm with a new autumn tune. Meanwhile, this week’s music show awards stirred up a bit of controversy when iKon were excluded from M! Countdown’s weekly charts for not having yet debuted, but in the end, the first place trophies were fairly evenly distributed between CNBLUE (The Show and Show Champion), Red Velvet (M! Countdown), and iKon (Music Core and Inkigayo). Here are some of my picks in terms of highlights of the week; leave yours in the comments below!
“Lean on Me,” Soyu & Kwon Jung-yeol, MBC Show! Music Core, September 26, 2015
Summer is gone, and autumn has officially arrived, so it’s time to cue the mellow, wistful, “healing” songs. Soyu and Kwon Jungyeol have taken the first step in this aspect as “Lean on Me” is one of the earliest fall songs this year, with its slow beat and sweet, calming melody. What I like about this song in particular is that as much as I love the unique characteristics of the two artists’ timbres — Soyu’s airiness and Kwon Jung-yeol’s smooth but pinched-sounding high notes — this song showcases their more natural tones, and the harmonisation of their voices turns this simplicity into something very pleasant to listen to. Furthermore, with the current weather still feeling like summer, I’m also glad that the set of their performance managed to evoke a fall atmosphere that matched the mood of the song.
“My First Love,” Berry Good, SBS The Show, September 22, 2015
Berry Good’s “First Love” is melancholy piece that portrays a first love different from the usual heart-fluttering experiences that similar themed songs tend to champion: one that is accompanied by heartbreak and unrequited love but that isn’t the only reason why the members of Berry Good broke out in tears during this performance. The song’s composer Joo Tae-young, known for writing Fin.K.L’s “Eternal Love” and So Chan-wee’s “Tears,” passed away early this month, and “My First Love” is his last work, composed by him on ward, therefore the girls can most likely be understood to be mourning him on this stage. Their raw voices in this live actually bring out a lot more the heartbreak in the song compared to what the official audio can show, which makes it on the whole an emotional performance for both the singers and the listeners. Also, hats off to Go-woon, who managed to hit all those high notes at the end even through her tears.
“Somehow,” DIA, MBC Show! Music Core, September 26, 2015
DIA’s stage for “Somehow” was one I stumbled upon by accident, but I was immediately drawn in by the performance. Aside from the song being fairly catchy on its own, the choreography that goes with it is very vigorous. There is never a moment on stage when the dance slows down — there will always be a member or several maintaining the tempo of the choreography. In addition, the members show a high level of synchronisation with each other (which in turn makes the dance look pretty impressive given their relatively large number), as well as with the song, shown through instances such as the pauses in dance in time with the shutter sounds in the song’s introduction.
“Dumb Dumb,” Red Velvet, SBS Inkigayo, September 27, 2015
The performance for “Dumb Dumb” is another example of hard-hitting choreography that renders the song much more enjoyable to watch in addition to listen to. What perhaps impresses me the most about the choreography is how well it matches the music: the long chain of “dumb dumb’s” in the intro are accompanied by a series of repetitive motions, and the stronger, more powerful dances are matched with Seulgi and Wendy’s more bold sounding parts while the choreography during the rap parts is sharp and fast-moving. Furthermore, the members are also bright and energetic throughout, which really makes the performance a highlight for viewers.
“Eyes, Nose, Lips,” Gayoon & Kim Soo-bin, MBC Duet Music Festival, September 25, 2015
Compared to having a powerful voice, I find the most redeeming feature of Gayoon’s vocals to be her sweet and lyrical tone, which allows her to render more toned-down songs such as “Eyes, Nose, Lips” a very beautiful piece. Kim Soo-bin also has a smooth sounding voice that sounds like Taeyang at times, and together, the two showed great teamwork in both their distribution of parts according to the effect each of their voices could create, and their ability to blend their vocals to create a perfect harmony. From Gayoon’s delicate “eyes, nose, lips” at the beginning of the song, to their harmonised high notes at the end, the two did a good job of bringing “Eyes, Nose, Lips” from its gentle start to powerful climax. My only complaint would be Gayoon’s outfit — I can’t imagine why anyone would think that combination makes a good styling, or the red sweater in itself for that matter.
“Mansae,” Seventeen, MBC Show! Music Core, September 26, 2015
Chuseok is probably the biggest happening in Korea this weekend, and Seventeen certainly differentiated themselves in giving a nod to this traditional festival by wearing hanboks onto stage for their performance of “Mansae” this week. As a result, in comparison to their usual stages, this one came off a surprisingly adorable in spite of the powerful choreography. Furthermore, given the group already has twenty or so variations of their choreography thus far, it certainly didn’t hurt to add a Chuseok version to the collection, with the little bows here and there, as well as the collective greeting at the end. Happy Chuseok, everyone!