October was all about the music. We saw the long awaited return of K-music veterans, and this a lot of strong albums! Unfortunately, there were some flops. Get into our picks for the best and worst releases of October 2016:
Empathy by Shin Yong Jae
Shin Yong Jae is doing the lord’s work and this album is even more proof of that. I am blessed. Enough said.
우리 둘 (Runnin’) by Henry x So You
This month SM decided to capitalize on what So You of Sistar is best known for, her duets, by pairing her with SM dungeon resident Henry. This song is right on par with So You’s two other duet hits “Some” and “Lean On” and I love it. Surprisingly though it has done as well as her other duets or even as well as some of the other duets put out by SM Station.
I will say I wasn’t feeling the fact that So You didn’t have an appearance in the MV.
Drive ft. Gray & Me Like Yuh by Jay Park
He had been pre-releasing songs for a while, but Jay Park has finally released his much anticipated English album ‘Everything You Wanted’ this month! I have a love-hate relationship with Jay Park’s songs. I think, and I feel a lot of people would agree with me, that he is at his best when he sings R&B songs and leaves the rapping to someone else. However, even when he plays to his strengths he can ruin it. This is the case with “Aquaman,” it really had all the makings of being a real jam but he just REFUSED to be even a little bit subtle with the references and word play which turned what should be a great baby making bop into an uncomfortable, somewhat aggressive, and clumsy description of sex set to a good beat.
“Drive” and “Me Like Yuh,” however, were magic. “Drive” was the slow jam perfection we come to expect from Gray x Jay Park collaborations and played into the strengths of all parties involved to give us signature AOMG greatness. “Me Like Yuh” on the other hand was the other side to that AOMG signature coin. It was fresh, on trend and it combined what Jay Park does best, sing and dance.
Wings by Bangtan Boys
Wings was a solid album from Bangtan Boys. While they have been giving us great title songs since they’ve debuted, it’s personally been a long while since I’ve loved a full album of BTS’. Every song was solid and apart from “Blood, Sweat & Tears,” which had a slightly difference vibe than the rest of the songs, it was cohesive and flowed well.
1 of 1 by SHINee
SHINee has always been good about delivering good albums, and 1 of 1 is no exception. One issue, however, is that while SHINee’s songs generally have a bit of a retro aspect to them, 1 of 1 stood out awkwardly from the rest of the album because it was very much a 90s song while everything else was the standard SHINee sound, which broke up the cohesion.
A New Empire
Ailee released mini album “A New Empire” this month! I really loved title song “Home,” it was something fresh for Ailee and played well to her vocal abilities, but unfortunately and like usual the rest of the album fell short. I saw that a lot of K-Netizens were complaining that while she sings well, her music all sounds the same and I have to say I agree. I’ve said Ailee reminds me a lot of Jennifer Hudson in that they both have amazing vocals and when they are performing other people’s, like Whitney Houston, songs they slay, but when it comes to their own music they, to my bewilderment, distance themselves from what that and what suits their talents best and do more Pop-esque songs.
The songs on “A New Empire” sound great and all but the fail lies in the fact that they’re not entirely memorable because we’ve heard it from her before. Hopefully we’ll see Ailee find her way back to Ballads and music that makes use of her stand out vocal abilities.
I Am Se7en by Se7en
Se7en made his comeback in October after a long hiatus following a rocky military service. He even said himself that he knew his release wouldn’t be a success considering his public image, but I still feel really bad for him. Listening to his album and seeing his performances you can hear and see that Se7en is stuck. His sound is dated and unfortunately for him, what worked in the early 2000s isn’t what works now, and even though he attempted to being in some modern elements…like nae nae-ing, it seems out of place.
I firmly believe had Se7en spent a bit more time and been able to translate growth into his music he would have been able to overshadow, at least to some degree, his public image. The best example of this comes from MC Mong, who despite having a pretty negative image because of his alleged attempts at evasion of military service was able to make a pretty successfull return in 2014 and 2015.
There will not be a November Favs & Fails next month because on December 1st we will be kicking off our end of the year round up for 2016. Be sure to subscribe to Asia 24/7 (you’ll find the subscribe button to the right) and follow us all over the interwebs (links below) so you’re get first view of all we have in store including our best songs list, and the FIFTH annual A247 Awards.