Welcome back to Unsung Artists! We’re right in the middle of autumn and as expected from this season, a lot of slower songs and ballads are coming out in K-pop. Still, ballads won’t be all you’ll find in this segment for the month of October: there are jazzy tunes, EDM and of course hip-hop. Let us know what you’ve thought about these songs in the comment section and don’t forget to tell us your favourite tunes of the past month!

Nu’est W, “I Don’t Care”

Kicking it off we have Nu’est W, who released their song “I Don’t Care” on October 1st. Autumn is generally a season for slow ballads, so Nu’est W’s choice to come out with such a fresh and cutesy mid-tempo song in early October is quite unusual. Sadly the song lacks originality and the prominent presence of Baekho and Ren’s falsettos in the choruses feels rather redundant. This is probably why JR’s lower tone on his parts makes a pleasing contrast.

Nothing’s particularly original in this aegyo-filled MV. The excessive usage of pastel pink and baby blue should be adding a sense of cuteness, but (most likely due to post-production issues) ends up adding too much brightness and hurting the eyes. There’s no storyline to the music video, and the members are just playing around with themselves and acting cute for the camera. This kind of concept has been amply used in K-pop, leaving only so much to say about it.

Soyou, “All Night”

As a member of Sistar, she was known to be one of the sexiest girls in K-pop. On her own, she is one of the undisputed Queen of Ballads. This time, Soyou brought out her sexiness on her own in “All Night”. In this jazzy song, Soyou manages to showcase both her signature husky falsettos and her lower register. The song’s genre matches Soyou very well. If anything, the song ends a little too abruptly. Maybe adding a piano outro could have helped with this.

The music video’s plot is quite confusing. Soyou spots her love interest in a bar and successfully seduces him — there’s even a scene where Soyou’s flaunts her bare back. Nothing seems confusing up at this point, but the singer apparently can transform herself into a Russian Blue cat. This certainly adds mystery to her seductive character, but doesn’t add much to the plot itself. Another quite puzzling aspect is the fact that during the rap part of the song she runs away in order not to be seen dancing by her love interest, with no apparent reason.

Green and reds are dominant colours in this music video. It’s no secret that red is the colour of seduction, and overall, the colours have been used appropriately throughout the video. The atmosphere of the scene where Soyou is singing in the bar slightly reminds me of a very popular music video of an equally sexy young solo artist, but due to its immense popularity worldwide, it can perhaps be considered kind of a homage.

Crush, “none”

In this song, Crush reminsces over an ex-lover and their relationship who eventually came to an end. The song’s production is kept as minimalistic as possible, with only some guitar riffs, a piano and a beat that is almost like a heartbeat. Crush’s voice is as delicate as it can be and manages to express magisterially the pain and sorrow a break-up brings without belting: rather, he whispers.

The music video is very pleasing, aesthetically. Everything is black and white, which works very well with the mood of the song and its genre. There are several rain and water shots that not only go very well with the sad atmosphere, but also inevitably remind of fall, the season we’re in. Other than being on his own and pensive, reflecting on his past love story, there are also some flashbacks of Crush and his ex-lover.

“none” was one of the best songs released this month. Everything works very well: from its incredibly classy minimalistic production to the simple yet aesthetically pleasing music video. Crush’s talent in expressing emotions so well with his singing is once again the cherry on top.

Lee Hongki, “Cookies”

As FT Island’s vocalist, Hongki is known as a rocker. This time he takes on a whole different genre–siding with BtoB’s Ilhoon, he came out with an EDM song, “Cookies.” Given the song’s positive message, I think it’s impossible not to smile while listening to it. One could argue that the song is a bit too cheesy, but the lyrics fit the instrumental very well. Hongki and Ilhoon’s voices are an unexpected match that works incredibly well. EDM’s a genre which is slowly declining and heavily produced choruses with repetitive melodies are going out of fashion, but “Cookies” is catchy and easy to sing along.

Once again, the music video has a plot which is not developed in an extremely clear way. Apparently, Hongki is an alien who knows how to levitate and can also use telekinesis to move objects and people around him. Nothing’s explained in detail, but at the end of the music video, he is seen on a spaceship, probably returning to his own planet after lifting the spirits of humans on Earth. In this video, Hongki is seen doing some basic dance steps, which is a side of him he’s never showed before in his band.

Stray Kids, “I Am You”

On October 22nd, Stray Kids released their latest music video “I am YOU”. Once again the group’s sound leans towards R&B and hip-hop. There is an evident contrast between the rough voices of the rappers and the mellow timbres of the vocalists. But while each rapper has a very distinct style, the vocalists are harder to tell apart. This might be partly because of the post production effects applied to the vocals of the song.

The music video isn’t particularly elaborated, but it’s full of nice dance shots. The dance is probably the best part of the music video and the members of Stray Kids are perfectly synchronised in their moves. “I Am You” might not be Stray Kids’ most outstanding work to date, but it is a good song and strengthens their image as talented hip-hop idols. 

(Youtube [1][2][3][4][5], images via Amoeba Culture, FNC Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment, Starship Entertainment)