Welcome back to Best of Weekly Music Shows, where we recap our favorite performances of the past week. This week saw the debut of Lee Jin-ah. Exo, Jung Jin-woon, SS301, and U-KISS were among those who made their comebacks this week. Winners were spread among three female acts. Baek A-yeon and Twice picked up one win each on M! Countdown and Music Bank, respectively. EXID won on both Music Champion and Inkigayo. Congratulations to all the music show winners.
Here are my picks for the week, but please do include yours in the comments below!
Exo’s “Monster,” KBS Music Bank, June 10, 2016
Exo is back with their latest album, and their title song “Monster” delivers on several levels. It is a thumping song with a bit of an edge and falls right into their wheelhouse. The dance shines because of the intricate formations and staging. It is a fitting comeback for the nine membered SM group. The camerawork and styling on their Music Bank stage was well executed especially when compared against the spinning focus of dizziness that was their Inkigayo stage. While the song may not be the greatest nor the most meaningful hit from Exo’s catalog, you may still find it creeping into your head when you least expect it to, and maybe that’s the real genius behind the titular track.
KNK’s “Back Again,” MBC Show Champion, June 8, 2016
KNK may be my favorite rookie boy group of the year so far. Had they debuted about 5 years ago, they would have fit well alongside some of their seniors. As they are now, they have shown that they have a lot to offer. Their vocals are solid and the song has a catchy electro melody. “Back Again” seems to have found nice middle ground with its upbeat production and still being able to showcase the group’s solid vocal line. KNK are rookies to look out for, if you are willing to open the door to give them the chance to impress you.
Baek A-yeon’s “So So,” Mnet M! Countdown, June 9, 2016
I’m extremely glad Baek A-yeon was able to continue to find success in her career post K-pop Star. Her voice is lovely and her self-composed songs are gems. The jazzy piano backing and R&B leanings in “So So” are gorgeous. There is no middling here as Baek A-yeon has found her groove as a singer-songwriter, and she continues to connect with her audience with her honest revelations.
Fiestar’s “Apple Pie,” MBC Show! Music Core, June 11, 2016
There is a cheekiness to “Apple Pie” that has grown on me in the past couple of weeks since its release. The song still feels a bit disjointed and lacks some spice that would truly make it addictive in flavor. The delivery in the live performances from Fiestar does make up for that as they are confidently dominate their time on stage. It’s not choreography that will make you in awe of its difficulty, but Fiestar make their choreo work by their expressions and synchronicity. They make it seem simple and make you pay attention.
EXID’s “L.I.E,” MBC Show! Music Core, June 11, 2016
I wanted to include EXID’s acoustic rendition of “L.I.E,” but since that video technically was released on the 5th, I opted for their Show! Music Core rendition instead. One of the things I love about EXID is their teamwork. They really know each other’s strengths which is why their songs seem to feel familiar to other songs from their discography. There is a sense that both LE and Shinsadong Tiger just know who would work well with each portion of a song and keep that in mind as they craft each part for the respective member accordingly. Even if “L.I.E” does fall flat in a few places — production-wise — it still has some redeemable moments: LE’s rap section is fire; Junghwa is great with her dance break; Solji hits those big notes with conviction. When the confetti falls at the end, and the group owns those final moments of the performance, it makes you appreciate how this group persevered, finding success and continuing to be true to who they are on stage.
Sechs Kies’ “Letting You Go,” KBS Yoo Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook, June 10, 2016
There is nothing like an old school boy group reuniting to perform an old hit. Sechs Kies still have it, and their pipes are still strong. Their dance moves may be simple but it works. The groovy and elongated movements work for the the ballad. Sechs Kies hearken back to the sweeping and smooth moves of the 90s. Most importantly, they sing this song from a place somewhere deep, and as they raise their arms above, it still strikes a chord with fans today.