Welcome back to the latest edition of Best of Weekly Music Shows. The comeback season is in full swing with the returns of 4TEN, B.A.P, Big Brain, Jung Joon-young, Ladies’ Code, Mamamoo, and Taemin. Making their debuts this week were ASTRO, Voisper, and WSJN. GFriend continues their winning streak with “Rough” picking up three trophies on Show Champion, Music Bank, and Inkigayo. SS301 on first place on The Show and Winner took top honors on M!Countdown with “Sentimental.”
There were a lot of great performances this week, so without further ado, here are my picks for the week.[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMkfj-JFz7g]
B.A.P’s “Feel So Good,” Mnet M!Countdown, February 25, 2016
“Feel So Good” is B.A.P naturally picking up where they left off. In the past, they would alternate between their heavier, angst-filled title tracks and brighter pop ones. After their long-awaited comeback last fall, the song “Be Happy” from their mini-album stood out as one that pairs funky pop with a message that B.A.P have carried through to this comeback: which is despite hardships, embrace the present and choose to take the outlook of happiness. While, the cuter leanings of past songs “Crash” and “Stop It” would be downplayed by humor, those songs didn’t come together as cohesively as “Feel So Good” does. “Feel So Good” has the boys all playing up their quirk, and they genuinely seem to love the stage. The rap portions slot in comfortably and the groovy base is a happy medium for the group. I love that Jongup gets more vocal lines, and both Daehyun and Youngjae‘s vocals seem stronger here than they did for their live performances of “Young, Wild, and Free.” (Side note, those girls during Yongguk‘s verse were killing the dance!)[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiMT2YGCRL8]
Ladies’ Code’s “Galaxy,” SBS Inkigayo, February 28, 2016
I really love the set on the Inkigayo stage of Ladies’ Code’s “Galaxy.” The stained glass, candles, and purple colored galactic background screens all contribute to this intimate feeling amidst the expansive world set behind them. There is a delicate approach that Ladies’ Code take with their dance moves, even when doing pair work. It is a timid elegance that places more emphasis on their controlled vocal color. Ladies’ Code are measured in their performance, and “Galaxy” is a slow burner with these ladies’ talents guiding the way.[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqGI-C25v1w]
Jo Kwon‘s solo version of 2am‘s “This Song,” KBS Yoo Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook, February 26, 2016
While Jo Kwon has been magnificent with his performances of “Crosswalk,” I couldn’t help but include this solo performance of 2am’s “This Song.” It is a song with a lot of meaning, being their group’s debut song in 2008. The song is massive, and Jo Kwon’s solo version of it imbues a different sensibility. While the original was spilling with powerful emotion, Jo Kwon’s has a melancholic sentiment that underlies his delivery. When he hits that last note, his strength and maturity as a vocalist comes through triumphantly.[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q3iNcSCr_s]
Mamamoo’s “You’re the Best,” MBC Show! Music Core, February 27, 2016
Mamamoo put on a number of great stages this week, from their live performance of “I Miss You” on M!Countdown to their Immortal Song 2 stage, they were bringing it. Those stages showed the strength of Mamamoo as a vocal group, harmonies and all. While “You’re the Best” isn’t my favorite song from the quartet, I think the performance is indicative of the appeal of the group. They each are strong vocalists and boast charisma for miles. They aren’t afraid to improvise on stage and know how build a rapport with the audience with memorable moments, painting a full palette of colors with their performance that even outdoes their bright-colored clothing.[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLtgAJ5cGqE]
Taemin’s “Drip Drop,” Mnet M!Countdown, February 25, 2016
Choosing one Taemin performance to highlight this week was a struggle. I almost went with the Music Bank performance of “Press Your Number” because the excellent staging and the explosion of lights in the backdrop perfectly highlighted the rhythm of the track, but since I personally enjoy “Drip Drop” more, I went with it, instead. “Drip Drop” is smooth and has a lot of depth in its production. The pairing of the higher voice with Taemin’s deeper one is smart because it allows Taemin the freedom to perform, and boy does he deliver. He doesn’t just do steps to the beat. He breathes dance through his body, showing a natural fluidity to his movements. Taemin’s solo dance at the end of “Drip Drop” is an absolute masterclass of movement, another level to which even he takes a bow for executing to perfection.[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E2bZkkbHB4]
Stephanie‘s cover of Min Hae-kyung‘s “I Want to See Your Face,” KBS Immortal Song 2, February 27, 2016
I was split between Mamamoo’s Immortal Song 2 performance and Stephanie’s, but much like the audience that night, I gave the edge to Stephanie for her all around stage. She truly demonstrated why she is considered the dance queen. Stephanie donned her pointe shoes and put on a show. Between her elegant lines, excellent partner work, fan dance, and live band behind her, Stephanie was dazzling.
Readers, what were your favorite performances this past week?