Celebrating: Xiumin, Jackson, and Yongguk

Welcome to a new segment where I celebrate some of my favourite Korean celebrities, not in order of how much I love them, but in order of birthday. All ages are international ages. -S

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Xiumin

First up for this post is Kim Min Seok, who uses the stage name Xiumin, the oldest member of the group EXO… not that he looks it. Every time I see Xiumin, I’m always surprised by just how baby-faced he is. I can’t help but wonder what he’s going to look like when he’s much, much older! He is rather undeniably cute. However, don’t let the cute face fool you, Xiumin is known for his impressive body and, ah… mature dancing. Actually, in his group, Xiumin is one of the lead dancers, and he’s been known to both sing and rap, although I always feel he’s underappreciated and underutilised. Fortunately, his sweet vocals have been recognised elsewhere, such as this duet with AOA’s Jimin, and in the EXO-CBX subgroup. Hopefully Xiumin will get more opportunity to show off his talents in the future! Happy 27th birthday on March 26th!

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Jackson

Next we turn our attention to GOT7’s rapper and all-round funny man Jackson Wang. Jackson is arguably one of the most well-known members of his groups because of his appearances on variety and talk shows. He has a very friendly, easy-to-get-along with personality, and he’s also naturally funny. I really love Jackson’s comedic timing and facial expressions, he’s such a fun guy to watch! His happy personality means he knows a lot of different celebrities in the Korean entertainment world, and he’s particularly close to other foreigners. Jackson was born in Hong Kong, and can speak several languages. He was actually on his way to becoming a talented sabre fencer, but ended up persuading his parents to let him pursue his dream. Now, he is a rapper (sort of!) and a talented dancer, known for his body and his flips. Happy 23rd birthday on March 28th!

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Yongguk

Our last celebrity for today’s post is B.A.P’s Bang Yong Guk. Not only is Yongguk the leader and a rapper in the group, he has also played a role in writing and producing the group’s songs. In fact, Yongguk has been doing this right from the group’s debut. As the leader, Yongguk has led the group through some troubled times, but has overcome them successfully. As a rapper, Yongguk is known for his deep ‘cave voice‘, arguably the deepest rap in K-Pop. His career as a rapper is also longer than his career as an idol; he rapped underground before joining TS Entertainment, and has even done some featuring and solo work. On camera, Yongguk often comes across as quite and serious, but he is actually surprisingly cute and adorkable. He is also very kind, as evident by his long commitment to charities. I hope Yongguk continues to lead B.A.P in the future, and continues to grow as an artist! Happy 27th birthday on March 31st!

Day 29: A song currently stuck in your head

The song currently stuck in my head is DAY6’s ‘I Wait’. I’m yet to actually own any songs by this group, as I feel that their previous songs sound very similar. However, ‘I Wait’ takes the band in a new direction with a different sound. It really suits the group’s voices, and makes me think of FT Island meets NELL. I like it.

What song is currently stuck in your head?

-S

Day 27: A song you make fun of

To be honest, as much as I love K-Pop, I can’t help but make fun of it. I think a true fan of something can laugh at it when they recognise that it’s either not that good, or just unintentionally funny. For example, take a look at the way English is often used in K-Pop in the clip below. Fortunately, this is improving, but in the early days of K-Pop you’d have a hard time understanding what was being said as an English speaker! (Feel free to ignore the uploader’s comments in green, just pay attention to the lyrics in white).

Secondly, K-Pop is really well known for its misheard lyrics. Often these are Korean lyrics that just happen to sound like English words, and sometimes they’re mispronounced foreign words. The main problem is that once you’ve misheard the lyric, it’s very hard to hear it back the correct way!

Of course, this isn’t something that’s unique to K-Pop, you can find instances of both of these things in English songs. It just happens to be more common in this genre. Do you know any misheard lyrics or bad grammar that you always notice when listening to a song?

-S

Day 26: A song by your favourite band

Well, questions like this always stump me. I don’t really have a favourite band. There’s a lot of bands that I love, but I don’t really consider any to be a favourite.

However, I have to post something, so having a look at what’s in my music library, the group whose music I have the most of is EXO. (Well actually, it’s “Various Artists”, but let’s not make this too difficult!). My favourite EXO song? It’s a bit of a hard choice, but I’m going to go with ‘Growl’. Plus, look at them dance moves!

Do you have a favourite band?

-S

Day 20: A song from a new album whose release you are waiting for

With a new year comes new K-Pop comebacks, and in March I’m expecting at least two of my favourite groups to put out new music; B.A.P and Monsta X. I haven’t heard too much about the latter’s comeback, but I know that B.A.P are putting out a single album called ‘Rose’, with the title track ‘Wake Me Up’. This should get released tomorrow, and I really, really can’t wait! I’m extra excited because the group’s leader, Bang Yong Guk, is returning after a temporary hiatus last year. Yay, all six will be back together again!

I’ve actually seen B.A.P live in concert. They performed in Melbourne last year and I flew over from Perth. It was well worth the travel! What I like about B.A.P is they can handle all types of music, from their classic hard sounds, to bright and funky, and even acoustic. They are super underappreciated, though, which is a real shame.

I obviously can’t link the song yet, but here’s the two teaser clips that have been released already… the song(s) sounds awesome!

Hopefully this comeback goes well for B.A.P!

-S

Day 19: A song you’re currently obsessed with

I am really good at obsessing over a song for a short amount of time, and then moving on very quickly. My current obsession is ‘Don’t Recall’ by mixed gender K-Pop group K.A.R.D. They haven’t officially debuted yet, but have put out two songs; this one and ‘Oh NaNa‘. ‘Don’t Recall’ isn’t something I would usually listen to, but there’s just something really appealing about the sound of the song. Check it out for yourself below.

Rather interestingly, the group also put out an English version of the song, which is almost unheard of in the K-Pop world. The song translate pretty well, keeping the original feel of the song without too many awkward words or phrasing, which is pretty admirable!

I look forward to hear more from this group!

-S

Celebrating: Wonho and Suga

Welcome to a new segment where I celebrate some of my favourite Korean celebrities, not in order of how much I love them, but in order of birthday. All ages are international ages. -S

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Wonho

Monsta X’s Shin Ho Seok, better known by his stage name Wonho, is our first celebrity for today’s post. Wonho is one of the vocalists of his group, and is perhaps most well known for his toned body. He is a bit of a show-pony about it, but can you really blame him? It took me a while to warm up to Wonho’s voice, and I probably didn’t really start to appreciate it until the group released ‘Fighter‘. Wonho appears to be a pretty happy guy, and I always notice that he’s the first to laugh at anything funny that happens. Which is pretty often with this group. As one of the oldest in his group, Wonho is very caring towards his other members, and I was surprised at how upset he got during the filming of No Mercy, the survival show that created the group. It must have been really upsetting having to say goodbye to all your friends! Wonho is also known for his derp faces, his love of ramen, and his fear of heights. The last one is something I can certainly relate to! Happy 24th birthday on March 1st!

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Suga

Our other celebrity today is one of the rappers of BTS, Suga. Suga’s real name is Min Yoon Gi, but he’s also known by the stage name Augst D when he promotes as a solo artist. I am a really big fan of Suga’s rapping. He has a very dry, sarcastic tone when rapping, and he’s very clever at playing with words and rhythm. His rap from the group’s third cypher is one of my favourites. Suga seems to be pretty down-to-earth, and perhaps a touch sarcastic outside of rapping. He often claims that he is unmotivated and lethargic, even saying he wanted to be reborn as a rock so he doesn’t have to move! However, it’s clear to me that Suga has a lot of fun, likes joking around with his members, and particularly likes to make them laugh. For someone who claims to be unmotivated, he’s clearly achieved a lot, with his work with the group, his solo career I’ve already mentioned, and he even plays an active role in writing group songs, including ‘Let Me Know‘, one of my personal favourites. I hope Suga continues to achieve much in his musical career! Happy 24th birthday on March 3rd!