K-Pop Idols and Their Adorable F(u)riends

Imagine this: you’re going home after a hard day packed with dance practices, recording sessions, photo shoots, fittings, and so many other events. What do you need other than a hot cup of tea (or coffee!) and some snacks? The answer is — a furry, four-legged friend!

Just like our furry friends give us happiness and make the best cuddle buddies, these K-pop idols come home to their adorable friends after a long day at work and heal their souls with their cuteness. 

  • BTS’ V – Yeontan 

Yeontan is a black and tan teacup pomeranian. Although the pup did live with V in the BTS dorm, due to their hectic schedules, Yeontan now lives with V’s parents. He was formally introduced to the public in December 2017 with a tweet revealing the pup’s name — Yeontan, which means “coal” in Korean.

  • BLACKPINK’s Jennie – Kai & Kuma

Kuma is a brown pomeranian & Kai is a white cocker spaniel. Kuma lives with Jennie while Kai lives with Jennie’s parents. Kuma’s birthday is March 24 and he is currently two years old. Kai’s birthday has not been specified, but fans guess he’s around six. The dogs get along well, as they grew up playing together, and now live with Jennie’s family. They’re both also very close to BLACKPINK Jisoo’s dog, Dalgom.

  • Twice’s Tzuyu – Gucci 

Tzuyu has dog named Gucci, an adorable chihuahua with an impeccable style and the sweetest face ever seen! It’s said that Tzuyu’s mom’s friend named it after the high-end clothing brand! The two have been inseparable since Tzuyu’s pre-debut days. 

  • Chungha – Bambi

Most people know Chungha’s dog, Bambi, through the special dog episode of Weekly Idol, which was one of her first big public appearances. On air, Chungha explained to her fans the dog was named Bambi because her mom kept calling the puppy that due to its long legs that made her look like a deer. Bambi gave birth to three puppies in 2017: Dakgol, Bamtol and Dodo. Soon after, Bamtol, was adopted by Ryu Jina, Chungha’s manager.

  • Kang Daniel – Peter, Rooney, Ori and Zhang Ah 

Kang Daniel is known for his love for cats. The solo idol has four adopted cats named Peter, Rooney, Ori and Zhang Ah. Rooney and Peter are females and they currently live with his mom in Busan. According to Daniel, Rooney is a Korean shorthair cat whose fur is exceptionally long, while Peter is kind of chubby with soft fur. Daniel and his mom’s love for cats persuaded them to adopt two more cats, Ori and Zhang-ah. Ori is an Abyssinian, and Zhang-ah is a Ragdoll.

Dogs are the gods of frolic while cats are connoisseurs of comfort. Be it any kind of pet, there is always a special bond between every pet and its owner. Do you have a pet? Are you a cat or a dog person? Leave a comment down below! 

Cover Image: Kang Daniel (Konnect Entertainment)
Written by Shreeya Saldanha

5 Must-Watch Korean YouTubers

YouTube has been recognized as a platform that lets creators from anywhere around the world share their content. Recently, Korean YouTubers have been increasing in popularity, making it onto everyone’s recommended pages. Whether you’re looking for entertainment, tutorials, or maybe even want to learn Korean, these creators are for you. 

1. tweety

Tweety is a lifestyle vlogger with 489,000+ subscribers. Her videos are the classic aesthetic vlogs that have gained a lot of popularity. She films her days at home, her date nights, and almost anything in between. She also gives her viewers insight into the makeup and skincare she likes, and always shows off the outfits she wears. The videos can be five minutes at the shortest to an hour at the longest, so there’s something for all audiences. Although all her videos are in Korean, she has English subtitles in all her most recent videos.  

2. Yelo

For all the music lovers out there, Yelo is for you. She is a singer with 393,000+ subscribers. Yelo covers popular songs, such as “bad guy” by Billie Eilish (which is her most viewed cover with 9 million views!) and classic oldies like “Fly Me to the Moon” by Doris Day. And of course, she sings her fair share of K-pop songs as well. Just like Tweety, she has English translations for those who need them. 

3. Jella

Jella is a K-beauty and lifestyle vlogger that has accumulated 784,000+ subscribers. She films the typical makeup tutorial showing how to do various Korean-inspired looks. Along with her makeup videos, she films her daily life and everyone in it, which includes her husband and young daughter. Translations aren’t guaranteed, but most of her videos have English subtitles for your convenience. 

4. YoonSun

There’ s no easy way to categorize this one: YoonSun’s channel serves as his online diary of sorts. With content varying from lifestyle to beauty to daily life, he really does it all. With 82,400+ subscribers, he exudes positive energy and just wants to enjoy life. Just like the other creators, he also includes subtitles for those who need them. 

5. xoxosophia

Just like YoonSun, there’s no box to define Sophia’s content. She partakes in a fair share of beauty-related content, posting videos of her changing her hair, doing makeup, and showing her skincare routine. In addition to all this, she also does style look books, clothing haul, and cooking videos! Sophia truly caters to every audience so it’s no wonder she racked up 87,100+ subscribers in only a year. And again, due to her global audience, she includes subtitles in her videos. 

With all that said, sit back, relax, and enjoy the vlogs, beauty videos and style inspiration straight from Korea!

Have you heard of any of these YouTubers? If so, who’s your fave? If not, whose content speaks to you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover Image: Tweety (x)
Written by Elodie Hollant

Shin Wonho: A Multi-Talented Man

Singer and actor Shin Wonho (Shin) is the leader of the K-pop group Cross Gene that debuted in 2012 under Amuse Entertainment. In the years since his debut, Shin has been very busy with other activities such as TV series, solo music and even his own segment for a radio station.

  • Acting

As an actor, Shin has been developing his skills since 2011 with Bachelor’s Vegetable Store and Run 60. Since then, he has consistently been a part of numerous TV shows, including Big, Legend of the Blue Sea, Risky Romance and Love Affairs in the Afternoon. In 2012, he was nominated for his role in Big for the Best Male Model Advertising and Best Rookie Actor awards, both of which he won.

He has also acted in other projects, like the Vietnamese web drama Who is My Future Family and a film titled ZEDD, which was made by all the Cross Gene members in 2014. That movie was made to showcase how the members of the group planned to save the world through their music, even if they all spoke different languages.

  • Solo Music

Shin is mostly known for his musical work with Cross Gene, however, he has recently released a number of solo songs. His first solo album was released in October 2018 as an exclusive album titled W in celebration of his birthday. This album contained the song “Serenade,” which is currently the only song digitally available from the ones released in the album. 

In 2019, he released another solo track, “Time,” as a part of a relay song project by the group, in which each member would release a song each month produced and/or composed by them. Shin’s song was released in March, making it the third song out of the four in the project.

Most recently, Shin released an album titled Strange Disco, comprised of only two songs, “Invasion” and “KKI (Disco Ver.).” “Invasion” has its own music video that was released in December 2019, making references to previous Cross Gene songs such as “Touch It” and “Play With Me.” However, “KKI (Disco Ver.)” is a solo remake of a Cross Gene song, giving it an interesting disco spin.

  • Other

Shin is in charge of a solo segment called Chuus-day for the Japanese radio station FM Yokohama. Here, he plays numerous songs, usually including at least one Cross Gene song. He also reads fan comments and talks about various other topics, sometimes taking on characters. Some recurring characters from his segment include Madame Shin and Boyfriend Shin, who both have specific outfits he dresses up in to evoke one or the other. 

Additionally, he runs a blog for the radio segment, in which he gives a summary of what he talked about during that week’s segment and allows fans to leave him comments, which he always reads and occasionally responds.

Feel free to check out his content and show your support on his blog page!

Cover Image: Shin Wonho (Amuse, Inc.)
Written by Danny Parotte

BTS Turns It ‘ON’ for a Fierce Comeback with ‘Map of the Soul: 7’

BTS has released their fourth full-length album, Map of the Soul: 7. Aptly named as the group moves toward their seventh anniversary, the highly-anticipated album is in position to be the group’s biggest one yet! The physical disc is comprised of nineteen songs, five of which make the leap from 2019’s Map of the Soul: Persona; and a digital exclusive of lead single “ON” featuring Sia is available online as a bonus track.

Thirty seconds of “ON” were teased on TikTok prior to Friday’s official release, causing fans to effectively overpower the app and taking the top worldwide trend in minutes. As usual, the preview was a stripped down version of the track, which only meant that the real thing would surely hit much harder  — a fact that was proven twelve hours later as the lead single made its long-awaited premiere. 

Continuing with the theme of one’s hidden shadow, “ON” is a striking, percussion-heavy hip-hop track that’s true to BTS’ roots. The hook rings out like an anthem, daring anyone to stop the trajectory of a visionary on a mission to accomplishment despite the fear that threatens to pull them under. It’s being scared and doing it anyway, facing the shadow head-on. As the group sings about the world around them falling to pieces, they welcome the pain of the challenge, tethering themselves to the difficulties and taking a leap of faith. The stronger the trust in the self, the weaker the fear becomes until that very darkness gives way to the light. 

It’s a fiery track for the group, packed with a mix of intimidating calm and battle cries that give off the feeling of an intense stare-down with your inner demon. “Gotta go insane to stay sane, throw myself whole into both worlds; Can’t hold me down ‘cause you know I’m a fighter, carried myself into this beautiful prison, find me and I’m gonna live with ya.” Equipped with a mature message and vocals to match, BTS experiments with new sounds and techniques without disconnecting from their gradual transformation from “No More Dream” to the powerhouse they are today.

The first of two official music videos, the “ON” Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima evokes a raw energy that takes the single to a new level using only a minimal set, proving the sheer strength of BTS’ power as performers. Outside of a few band instruments, there are no major props, colors, or special effects to distract from what the boys, backed by a troop of talented dancers, can express with their bodies; accenting each lyric with a punch of confidence in each intricate step. The wardrobe of neutrals and leather plays well with the fighting spirit of the song, the hard exterior of cement surroundings, and the precise line formations in the choreography — every bit of it conveying a driven nature wrapped up in a rebellious streak as light and darkness unite as one. Directed by Lumpens, the “ON” video features the Blue Devils marching band and dancers from The Lab Creative Arts Studio; including Sienna Lalau, who’s worked with the group before on “Dionysus” choreography with Andrew Elam and J-Hope’s “Chicken Noodle Soup.”

Map of the Soul: 7 is an introspective exploration of BTS’ growth from their early days of debut to having only themselves to face on the steep climb to the top. The first five tracks are a selected handful from Map of the Soul: Persona before “Interlude: Shadow” opens the door to the next installment of the era. In addition to pre-released titles “Shadow,” “Black Swan,” and “Outro: Ego,” the group had more special features in store, some expected and some coming by surprise. 

With the rap line tasked with bringing the fire in “Persona,” “Shadow,” and “Ego,” it was the vocal line’s turn to bring the heat, and the quartet doesn’t disappoint. “Filter,” a sensual Latin-inspired solo from Jimin, showcases a blend of the singer’s unique vocal color and perfected falsetto. Jungkook shines in R&B track, “My Time,” a song that gives the youngest member of the group room to stretch his lower register, peppering the track with staccato rhythms and vocal runs. “Inner Child” is a melodic and comforting message delivered from V to his younger self that’s easily relatable, expressing that times may get tough but a brighter future lies ahead. “Moon,” a acoustic-driven pop solo led by Jin, demonstrates a love compared to the universe with the eldest in the group setting his title of “worldwide handsome” aside to insist that the true beauty is the subject of his love: the BTS fandom, ARMY.

From the J-Hope, Jin, and Jungkook combo on Map of the Soul: Persona’s “Jamais Vu,” more subunits are introduced on Map of the Soul: 7. RM and Suga’s distinct lyrical flows join forces on “Respect,” a upbeat track pressed into a fun, ticking beat reminiscent of American southern rap with a pinch of the 90’s hip-hop vibe. Coming as a sweet surprise with an even sweeter meaning was the duet between Jimin and V, “Friends.” in which the pair sings about the soulmate status of friendship. The song earns Jimin a producing credit on the album.

“UGH!” and “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)” are songs belonging to the rap line and vocal line respectively. The cypher-like flow of “UGH!” made it an immediate fan favorite, quick-tongued and biting back against people hiding behind anonymity to issue harsh words, a direct criticism of an anger-fueled society. It’s a stark contrast to “00:00,” a mid-tempo song about the world resetting at midnight, starting a new day with new possibilities, new opportunities, and new feelings — a hopeful chance to start over if life doesn’t seem to be going your way.

“Louder than bombs,” co-written by Troye Sivan, has an sultry sound and ethereal vocals that almost deceive the ear to believe it’s a song about people coming together when they’re actually coming undone. Lastly, rivaling “Friends” and “Louder than bombs” as the resident tear-jerker is “We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal,” a continuation of Parts 1 and 2 of “We Are Bulletproof,” and a finale to the series. It reaffirms the love the members of BTS have for each other as it recounts their journey from the beginning as seven then, seven now, and seven forever.

Map of the Soul: 7 broke records even before its release, boasting over 4 million copies sold ahead of February 21 to make it the highest selling pre-order for a Korean artist. The second is Map of the Soul: Persona with over 3 million copies, and rounding out the Top 5 is the Love Yourself trio: Answer, Tear, and Her.

The four-phase rollout for the new album was a different approach to comeback season for the group, providing fans with multiple opportunities to immerse themselves in music and art. Musically, there was the drop of three pre-release tracks from the album in Phase 1 and Phase 2: “Interlude: Shadow” on January 10, “Black Swan” on January 17, and “Outro: Ego” on February 3. Phases 3 and 4 brought the concept photos and album release. 

While the music videos for “Shadow” and “Ego” bagged major hype online, a visual for “Black Swan” was first introduced in an art film featuring the contemporary MN Dance Company and an orchestral spin on the single. For the album version of the track, more hip-hop elements shine through. The first public performance of “Black Swan” by BTS was during their January 28th appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

One of the most notable experiences of the first two phases was CONNECT, BTS, a project that opened free exhibitions around the world in partnership with featured artists Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Catharsis, London); Tomás Saraceno (Aerocene Pacha, Buenos Aires); Antony Gormley (New York Clearing, New York); Ann Veronica Janssens (Green, Yellow and Pink, Seoul); Yiyun Kang (Beyond the Scene, Seoul); and curators Stephanie Rosenthal and Noémie Solomon, who organized thirteen performance artists for the Rituals of Care exhibit in Berlin. Despite their understandably busy schedules, BTS visited the Seoul exhibit upon their return to Korea in early February after nearly a month in the United States, and were able to see Antony Gormley’s installation in Brooklyn upon their return to New York for album promotions.

It’s been a hectic month for BTS and ARMY alike as tickets went on sale earlier this month for the the U.S. and Canada leg of the Map of the Soul World Tour. Half of the shows have sold out, but some standard tickets are still available on TicketMaster. The Map of the Soul World Tour kicks off April 11 in Seoul, then makes its way to North America on April 25 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. After a string of shows in Europe and Japan in the summer, the tour wraps up on September 2 in Tokyo.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait until the tour to catch our next sighting of the chart-topping group! BTS will be making an appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show on February 21 to discuss Map of the Soul: 7, and on February 24, you can check them out on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as they take over New York. BTS will also appear in Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show with James Corden on February 25.

Have you listened to Map of the Soul: 7? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Cover Image: BTS (BigHit Entertainment)
Written by Britt Franklin

The New World of Isegye Webtoons

Webtoons are digital comics coming from Korea typically read through smartphones and other devices while some have novel versions as well. Naver, Kakao Page, or Daum have always been popular sites for Koreans to read webtoons but over the past few years, companies such as LINE WEBTOON, Tappytoons, and Tapas have been built for global readers.

The market for Korean webtoons has grown to reach millions and has become a rival for Japanese manga. A recent trend has been “isegye” (이세계) themed webtoons that focus on being “reborn” or thrown into parallel worlds. Isegye roots from “isekai” in Japanese and can include multiple genres of romance, action, or mystery. There are hundreds of isegye comics, and here are a few that are trending and well-rated! 

  • Empress of Another World by Lee Young Yuu and Lim Seo-rim 

Empress of Another World starts off with the main character, high school student Sa Bina, getting into an accident in the subway and being transported into the Crentia Kingdom. On her arrival, the duke adopts her to be married as a concubine for an old emperor. However, the emperor gets killed and Sabina must face challenges for the throne. This has 82 episodes and 47 special episodes, and is published by D&C Media. 

  • Adonis by Hye-dori

This action-themed webtoon is about two estranged lovers named Ianna and Arhad. They are strong-willed individuals who have many similarities but are enemies. Ianna fights for her king against Arhad, who hopes to become emperor, and dies in battle against him. Her last dying wish to be his “sword” comes true with her reincarnation that goes back to when she was little. With a second chance at life, will she be able to make the right changes and be able to protect Arhad in this new timeline?

Kakao Page published Adonis and currently 116 episodes are out. According to the official English translator, Adonis has been read by at least 2 million viewers, being highly-rated for its beautiful artwork and intense storyline. 

  • Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with a Lamp by Yuin, Mini

Unlike most webtoons, the main character is someone who carries the memory of her past life, and is a young professor specializing in medicine. Dr. Song has many regrets of her past life because, as a queen, she was a tyrant and caused the death of her whole family. When Dr. Song gets into a plane crash, she awakens to the time before she was queen.

With the memories of being a tyrant queen and a doctor in the modern world, Elise gets another chance to fix relationships and help the kingdom for the sins committed in her first life. Her focus is now to help people by becoming the first female surgeon, but at the same time, the king hopes to make her queen again. Doctor Elise started in 2016 and is published by CL Productions.  

  • Who Made Me a Princess by Plutus, Spoon

Who Made Me a Princess starts off with a baby realizing that she is a character in a novel called Lovely Princess. This baby is Princess Athanasia, who will be killed at eighteen by her father Claude de Alger Obelia, and with “Lovely Princess focusing on Princess Jennette. With this knowledge, all Athanasia wants to do is avoid the cold-blooded killer and find a way to escape when she is older. When Athanasia gets noticed by the emperor, she has no choice but to resort to cuteness for survival! This webtoon also includes elements of magic as well as romance, and has been supported by CL Productions since 2017. 

  • What It Takes to be a Villainess by HÆON, Min(REDICE STUDIO), Yuns

Hwayoung is a twenty-three-year-old who seems to have the best boyfriend. When her boyfriend cheats by going out with her best friend, now “villain,” Hwayoung is in despair and ends up drowning by accident. Upon waking up, she finds out that her new body is Satiana, a duke’s only daughter who was head-over-heels for the crown prince that was more interested in another girl named Irene.

Even though Satiana wishes to avoid the prince and run away from the throne, she has no choice as a candidate to become empress. If she doesn’t try her best now, her whole family is at risk, and to make matters worse, the prince seems to hold a grudge against her! What It Takes to be a Villainess has seventy-four episodes, and is based on a popular novel of the same name. 

As the demand for webtoons grows, there are more Korean webtoons being officially translated for readers. Webtoons can cost some money or time with ads, but reading through licensed sites is beneficial for creators to make more content.

As websites aim to promote the artists and writers, most webtoons that provide official English translations offer free chapters in the beginning. After the first few episodes, they will ask readers to use points that can be bought or earned through ads. 

Isegye webtoon is a current trend that can involve different genres and be for all kinds of readers. Besides parallel worlds or being “reborn,” there are also standard webtoons, such as slice of life or comedy.

Have any of the webtoons on this list caught your eye? There are tons of different webtoons to check out as well on Tappytoons and Tapas or other websites listed as well! 

Cover Image: What It Takes to be a Villainess 
Written by Monica Park

Podcast 101: The K-Pop Daebak Show! with Eric Nam

It’s early morning, you’re getting ready for your day, but you feel like something is missing. Perhaps it’s music? But you know you listen to the same songs every single day, and now you want something new, something fresh. Enter Eric Nam!

Nam, a solo artist you may know from his album Before We Begin or from his time hosting After School Club, has an amazing podcast called The K-Pop Daebak Show!

We know you have many questions about it, that’s why today we bring you Podcast 101, a small series about our favorite podcasts and all the information you need about them. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What’s The K-Pop Daebak Show?

We all know that the K-pop industry is an extremely hectic one, and with comebacks almost every week, it’s hard to keep up. Eric Nam knows this very well, so every Monday he sits down and talks about the week’s best songs. Other times he gets artists like Amber from f(x), BM from K.A.R.D, and even Jae from DAY6 to do an interview for the show. The show has a variation for its running time, with 25 minutes for a standard review episode, and 40-60 for interviews. In my experience, my day turns a bit brighter when I listen to the episode before leaving home.

Why should I listen to it?

This podcast is perfect for all the K-pop lovers and K-pop newbies. When Eric talks about a group or artist, he also makes sure to include some facts. The interviews give you an in-depth view of what it truly is like to be an idol! It is a well-balanced podcast, as funny as it is serious, and it’s always a new feeling when you listen to it.

The Best of The K-Pop Daebak Show (So Far)

  • The Official IDOL Big Tittie Committee

We all know how funny it was when BM from K.A.R.D.said in a VLive that he was president of the committee. Eric Nam took his shot and asked BM which other idols would make the cut. He answered without hesitation that Baekho from NU’EST, Mingyu from SEVENTEEN, and Hongseok from PENTAGON are part of it. The small clip will give you an insight to the funny aspect of the podcast, and will leave you laughing for a while!

  • The Importance of Mental Health

Amber from f(x) takes a more serious tone in her interview. She talks about how important it is that we talk about mental health, and how she’s been handling some events that happened in her life. She doesn’t shy away from talking about how she’s been going to therapy, and encourages the listeners to do so too if they feel like they need it.

  • Jae from Day6 is NOT a Loser

To end on both a serious and funny note, we have Jae from DAY6 telling us how being a “loser” in high school helped him to become the person he is today. This interview in particular is so sweet and funny as both Eric and Jae keep cracking jokes, talking about what it was like growing up in a different culture, and how it helped them when transitioning into a full time Korean lifestyle.

Overall, this is a podcast that will satisfy if you need to laugh, cry, or just want to know what’s been going on in the K-pop industry. Eric Nam is a charismatic host, who will make you want to listen to the podcast every week without fail. The K-Pop Daebak Show! is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and many more!

Listen to an episode and let us know what you think about it!

Cover Image: Eric Nam (Stone Music Entertainment)
Written by Helena Diaz

The Comeback of B.E.G.: Your Original Girl Crush Unnies

One of the many groups that recovered from the long hiatus and made a comeback was Brown Eyed Girls (B.E.G.). They returned with a remake album called RE_vive with the lead songs “Wonder Woman” and “Abandoned.”

Brown Eyed Girls debuted in 2006 with members Narsha, JeA, Miryo, and Gain. Formerly under the Nega Network, they gained fame and recognition for songs such as “Sixth Sense,” “Sign,” “LOVE,” and “Abracadabra.” Moreover, they also gained much attention and love from the viewers as they showcased their cool, straightforward personality on variety shows. Currently, they are managed by Mystic Story, which houses artists such as Yoon Jong-Shin, Minseo, PERC%NT, and more talented individuals. 

During the four year hiatus, each member has been focused on their individual activities. With Narsha getting married in 2016, Gain actively promoting her own songs, JeA appearing on variety shows, and Miryo focusing on her own individual schedule, their presence in the K-pop industry as Brown Eyed Girls had somewhat diminished. Nevertheless, with the long-awaited comeback, they have proved that their roots in K-pop entertainment remain unshaken.

On October 28, 2019, Brown Eyed Girls came back with RE_vive, an album consisting of covers. One of their lead tracks is “Wonder Woman,” which is from an artist named Jo Weon-Sun. The song is rhythmical and gives off a musical vibe. While the original song had a piano break along with bossa nova in the middle, Brown Eyed Girls turned it 180 degrees into a punky, ’80s-pop song. Their music video features drag queens in wedding dresses while each member is dressed in suits, breaking down stereotype barriers and resonating modernity.

Check out their “Wonder Woman” music video below!

Whereas their RE_vive album embodied their trademark sexy and charismatic vibes, their latest single “Snowman,” released on January 2, 2020, showcases their vocals and gives off a sense of wintery, holiday vibes. 

Brown Eyed Girls’ JeA helped compose “Snowman,” in which one talks about the significant “melting” of love in one’s relationship as time goes by. The Korean title for this song is “2019년 겨울 첫눈으로 만든 그댈 2020년 눈으로 다시 만들 순 없겠지만,” which translates to “Having created you from the first snow of 2019, [I] can’t re-make you with the snow from 2020.”

Check out their live performance of “Snowman” below!

Despite their hiatus, their comeback once again proved their status as one of the K-pop legend groups. With the average age of the group being 37.5 years old, they show that age doesn’t matter when it comes to being passionate for what you love to do! While each member shines as individuals, as a whole, their presence glows and they continue to live up to their title as one of the legendary K-pop girl groups!

Cover Image: Brown Eyed Girls (Mystic Story)
Written by Jessica Lee

Get Ready To Rock with these 5 Korean Alternative Bands

When you hear Korean music, you often think of K-pop, but there are many genres to check out and listen to — one being alternative rock. A musical genre that became popular in the 1980s, “alternative” refers to the sub-genre being distinct from mainstream rock and pop. Now here are five alternative Korean rock bands to check out: 

  • Jambinai

Jambinai is a three-member band from Seoul, South Korea that formed in 2009. Some of their songs have vocals while others are only instrumental. This trio combines Korean folk instruments with rock instruments, and their sound has been described as Korean folk, post-rock, and experimental. 

Kim Bo-mi plays the haegeum, Sim Eun-yong plays the geomungo, and Lee II-woo plays the piri, taepyeongso, electric guitar, and vocals. They have touring musicians who play the drums and bass guitar for them as well. In 2010, they released their debut EP. Their 2012 album, Différance, won Best Crossover Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards. As of 2019, they are still releasing new music. 

  • Cherry Filter

Cherry Filter is a female-fronted South Korean rock band that formed in 1997. Their sound is diverse with punk rock influences and ballads. Cheung Woo-jin plays guitar, Youjeen who is vocals has an impressive vocal range, Yaenhead plays bass, and Sonstar plays the drums and raps. 

In 2000, they released their debut album, Head Up. Many questioned their band name. The story behind Cherry Filter is they wanted something both feminine (“cherry”) and masculine (“filter”). Since their debut, Cherry Filter has won many awards throughout the years, and while their last album released was in 2009 and their latest single in 2014, they are still together. 

  • Nell

Nell is an alternative indie rock band that formed in 2001 in Seoul, naming themselves after the movie Nell, which stars Jodie Foster. Their sound is influenced by Radiohead, Muse, and many other bands; especially those from the UK. Nell consists of Kim Jong-wan, who is lead vocals and guitarist; Lee Jae-kyung, the lead guitarist; Lee Jung-hoon, the bassist; and drummer Jung Jae-won. They have an impressive list of awards and nominations to go with their discography of eleven albums and many singles. Their most recent album was Colors In Black, which was released on October 10, 2019. 

  • Hyukoh

Hyukoh is a four-member indie band that formed in 2014. Oh Hyuk is the leader, singer, and a guitarist. Im Dong-geon is the bassist, Lim Hyun-jae is a guitarist, and Lee In-woo is the drummer. Leader and founder Oh Hyuk’s background has influenced the band in many ways. He speaks Mandarin, Chinese, Korean, and English. They have an eye-catching style from visual aesthetics to music videos to their sound. Hyukoh has one full-length album and several singles and EPs. They are currently set for a world tour in February. 

  • TraxX

TraxX originally started out as a four-member rock band formed by SM Entertainment and X Japan’s co-founder Yoshikj in 2004. Prior to the name TraxX and rebranding as an EDM trio, they were also known as The TRAX and then TRAX. The band consisted of Jay, leader and vocals; Min-woo, drums; Jungwoo, bass; and Jungmo, guitar. 

Between 2006 and 2007,  Min-woo and Jungwoo left the band. The two remaining members, Jay and Jungmo changed their name to TRAX and released EPs. In 2015, they once again changed their name to TraxX and added DJ and producer Ginjo to make a trio.Unfortunately, in 2019, TraxX disbanded after Jay and Jungmo’s contracts with SM Entertainment expired. Jungmo has branched out to being a solo artist.  

Now that you have read a little about these five alternative bands and gave them a listen, what do you think?

Do you enjoy alternative music? Or do you have any favorite Korean alternative bands? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover Image: Jambinai
Written by Brianna Giles

8 ASTRO Songs You Should Know

ASTRO is a six-member group well known for their fun personalities and actor appearances. Behind their TV presence, you’ll find talent and diverse discography. Debuting with a soft and cute concept in 2016, these guys have grown up in age and musical maturity with their latest mini album Blue Flame. Along the way, they have released many songs that showcase everything from their strong vocals to their love for their fans (AROHA). After getting their first win in January 2019 with “All Night,” ASTRO is growing in popularity. 

Most fans know their title tracks like “Crazy Sexy Cool” and “Hide and Seek,” but for those just coming in, their B-sides deserve just as much love. We want to showcase the different sides of this group and help all their newer fans get a feel for what ASTRO has to offer. Here are 8 songs that you might not know, but definitely should!

  • You & Me (Thanks AROHA)

Coming from ASTRO’s first special album Winter Dream, “You & Me” is a fun tune with a deeper meaning. This song was written by all of the members and dedicated to their fans. The lyrics talk about how happy their fans make them and how they remember the good moments. In times of struggle and looking into the future, we’re all in this together.  This track closed out their seasonal album project with warm vibes.

  • Because It’s You (너라서)

From their fourth mini-album Dream Part.01, “Because It’s You” is a happy ballad. Wrapped in the package of powerful vocals and a slower instrumental, the lyrics tell a different story. This relationship has been beneficial for one of the partners in the way that they are finally experiencing happiness and comfort. They are finally seeing in color and can appreciate all the precious memories being created together.

  • Fireworks (불꽃놀이)

“Fireworks” is the opening track on their second mini-album Summer Vibes and it kicks it open with a bang. The overall feel of the song is youthful and optimistic. This person has been holding in their feelings for their crush and wants to confess in a big way. They are like a firework; they feel like they’re flying with the stars and they want to make their crush happy. When talking about a summer night memory, this song makes you feel warm and might just inspire you to make a big gesture.

  • Innocent Love (풋사랑)

Their first ballad showcased their vocal abilities early in their career with “Innocent Love” coming from their first mini-album Spring Up. From high notes to perfectly fitting raps, “Innocent Love” will leave a lasting impression. The lyrics talk about someone breaking up with their first love. They acknowledge that it was young, puppy love but they’re still grateful for the relationship and wish for the best for their missing partner.

  • All About You (다야)

With a fun instrumental and honey vocals, this track from their latest mini-album Blue Flame is a great jam. The lyrics talk about a person who has fallen for someone. They have their heart, but they are unsure if their feelings are reciprocated. They want certainty and effort from the other person. With lines throughout the song like “다야야야 다야야야” and “Could you be my boo,” it will quickly stick in your head!

  • Role Play

Coming from ASTRO’s first full-length album, All Light is a mature track with Latin-inspired instrumentals. Rappers Rocky and JinJin are not featured in this song but that doesn’t stop it from being a great tune. The lyrics give off a sexier message than their previous albums, telling their lover to role play with them as if their relationship is still strong but also knowing it’s not real.

  • Star (별)

“Star” is a track from their third mini-album Autumn Story. This ballad has a softer instrumental than “Because It’s You,” but has a similar message lyrically. This person can’t think and they’re hurting, but this star of a person has come into their life and they’re trying to live in the moment rather than for the future. They’re thankful for this bright person. The overall sound of this song fits their autumn vibe for this album.

  • By Your Side (너의 뒤에서)

ASTRO’s special mini-album Rise Up was released during a time of uncertainty and confusion for the group, the fans, and the company. The lyrics in all of the tracks on the album were dedicated to the fans as a way to assure that they are all still a family and in hopes that things would take a turn for the better. “By Your Side” was co-written by all of the members and it talks about how they’re sorry for not being there, how they still want to continue and hold on to each other. It is a thank you to their fans for supporting them through thick and thin. They missed them and are asking them to stay by their side. Now, the group and the company are in a better state.

ASTRO is a group with strong vocals, dances, and personalities. It’s always worth checking out B-sides to a group, even if you’re not a fan of their title tracks. Each artist has a diverse discography behind them. When it comes to older groups, that becomes even more true. With ASTRO, their music grew up with them and while their concepts changed, they’re still just as passionate and talented. 

Are you an AROHA? What song of theirs would you spotlight?

Cover Image: ASTRO (Fantagio)
Written by Chey Olexa

YouTube Channel ‘ODG’ is a Must Watch!

“You were a kid once.” 

This is the slogan for ODG, a company that emphasizes enlightening individuals and respecting the past by creating entertaining video content and colorful apparel through the natural appearance of children and adults.

ODG, operated in Seoul, started a YouTube channel in December 2018, and within a year has reached a million subscribers and counting!  While the company creates videos, it also has its own clothing line! ODG has simple, casual, and colorful clothing and accessories for children and adults. Their YouTube videos and clothing line all focus on the message of being comfortable, playful, and enlightening oneself from childhood and throughout adulthood.

Do you ever think back on your childhood or about how you wish you were a kid again? ODG creates video content that lets kids speak on subjects that make adults think, makes kids think about themselves, and show kids reacting to or conversing with adults. These videos not only make us think, but also enhance our ability to think about what we might have said when we were kids. ODG wants their viewers to respect their past instead of saying, “I’ve been there”. 

Their channel is a must-watch because their content gives both a pure and innocent and mature and adult perspective on subjects. Sometimes, kids and adults just need to remind each other of things about life. ODG content is colorful, entertaining, funny, playful, inspiring, and educational.

Since ODG has a target audience of all ages from anywhere around the globe, they focus on content that brings people together. Their most-watched video (39 million views) was of children Hyun-ho Shin and Carson meeting each other for the first time. Hyuno-ho is from Korea and Carson is from the U.S. Not only is their chemistry great on camera, but it is amazing to see the series they have done together that encourages kids to be kids, enlightening each other about each other’s cultures, and having fun in the process! How amazing is it that there is content out there that literally brings people from all over the world together to get to know each other?

For true ODG content that will make you think, respect your past, and enlighten your present self, check out the video below. Not only is it heartfelt, but it really presents the true essence of ODG: helping adults learn how to respect their past, showing kids how to use their own voice to help others, and how inspiring and educating others is an amazing thing to do in this world.

Written by Jenna Tokioka