Welcome back to another edition of Best of Weekly Music Shows! This week offered a slightly more limited selection of performances, given MBC’s Show! Music Core did not air due to a baseball game. In addition, SBS Inkigayo was held in Jeju this week, and I know how much we all love the camerawork for these outdoor concerts.

In terms of comeback news, f(x) have returned to the stage as four members and with their new song “4 Walls.” Meanwhile, Taeyeon continues to sweep up music show wins and has remarkably achieved a triple crown on M! Countdown and Music Bank, with this week marking her third consecutive win.

f(x), “4 Walls,” Mnet M! Countdown, October 29, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUy3OKrl-pI]

While I did have my doubts about how interesting f(x) stages this comeback would be, given how toned down “4 Walls” is, I was pleasantly surprised by the actual performance. The choreography is considerably restrained, given a large portion of the dance focuses mainly on series of intricate hand gestures, but at the same time, the performance does seem to fit in with the aesthetic qualities of this comeback, with its incorporation of voguing into the dance and all.

In particular, the biggest strength of the choreography appears to be its use of formation — the dance break during the bridge is truly fascinating to watch. Finally, as usual, the members’ visuals are impeccable, and the performance, combined with the styling and stage effects, exudes overall a mysterious and elegant aura that matched the feeling conveyed by the airy vocals of the song.

BtoB, “Way Back Home,” KBS Music Bank, October 30, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy5EuH8kFpk]

Three weeks into their promotion cycle, BtoB’s “Way Back Home” is still as enjoyable as ever to watch and listen to. Well-rounded vocals and smooth choreography aside, what makes this stage in particular a highlight for me this week is its aesthetic appeal – the red-black styling of the members is certainly very attractive, and the set is also beautifully designed. However, perhaps my greatest takeaway from the performance is that, man, Eunkwang’s expressions on stage are alive.

Kim Dong-wan, “I’m Fine,” Mnet M! Countdown, October 29, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2pyz3low4s]

With fall songs being in high demand at the moment, I’m surprised this solo piece by Shinhwa’s Kim Dong-wan isn’t receiving more attention. Both the melody of the song and the piano motif that can be heard between verses are relatively simple but surprisingly pleasant-sounding (almost catchy even), and this performance shows off his talents in a straightforward, unextravagant manner. I’m also enjoying the little exchanges between the singer and his fans in this video — the organised fanchants certainly enhance the enjoyability of the performance.

Lovelyz, “Running,” KBS Yoo Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook, October 30, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE5aEiQ6ul8]

When Lovelyz first debuted, one of the aspects of the group that had caught my attention was their harmonisation when they performed a capella, and their performance of this sweet, innocent song originally by S.E.S does an excellent job of showing off this lovely (pun intended) harmony. All of the vocals — backing, main and ad-libs — are provided by the members, weaving together a delicate network of voices that renders this cover a pretty piece. I also find it adorable that they are performing this stage with Yoon Sang (playing the guitar), who was the producer for their first album.

Mamamoo, “Hinterlands,” KBS Immortal Song 2, October 31, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXdvBy_4dxo]

As much I want to end this article on a high note, this performance by Mamamoo is too good not to put last. It is well-known that Mamamoo have great vocals; however, being known for their funky music, it is rare that they have a chance to show off those vocals in a piece as emotional as this rendition of “Hinterlands.” Their choice to turn the song into a melancholy one was a surprising decision, given the original sounds nowhere as sentimental, but the members did do a wonderful job of conveying the emotions, showing in particular an impressive buildup of dynamics from the quiet opening to the powerful harmony of the three vocalists in the final verse of the song.

Their inclusion of Hong Song-hee, the pansori singer in the chorus, was also a good touch, as it allowed the song to stay traditional sounding, but also provided a unique sounding meld between the Korea’s traditional singing style and that which is more commonly utilised in modern music. My only complaint would be that Moonbyul’s rap parts sounded slightly out of place, but overall, the group’s performance was well-executed, and the group earned their first Immortal Song win this episode.

(YouTube [1] [2], Images via Mnet)