March 30, 2014

Let's Learn Together: Dance (nanana) // 스테파니

Let's Learn Together:  Dance (nanana) // 스테파니 [Stephanie]

Song:  Dance (nanana)
Artist:  스테파니 [Stephanie]
Album:  The New Beginning - Single
Company:  SM Entertainment & Media Line Entertainment

English:  10 / 10
Translation Difficulty:  0 / 10

Please credit "" or "angelsfallfast."

Just A Few Words:
This song is a great way to show off Stephanie's English fluency.  I'm not a huge fan of her voice (she sounds like she's swallowing her voice - basically like Shakira), but it's obviously a good voice after some SM polishing.  It was also nice to see her get some stage time after a back injury nearly ended her ballet and idol career and CSJH's indefinite hiatus.

English:  10 / 10
The English on this track was probably significantly helped by the fact both the main singer and the guest singer (Amber from f(x)) are both fluent English speakers.  All the English makes sense and is pronounced correctly.

Translation Difficulty:  0 / 10
This song was actually pretty easy!

10 Words:
  1. 머리 (noun):  "hair"
    1. *Usually translates as "head" but in this context it has a different meaning.
  2. 조명 (noun);  "lighting" or "illumination"
  3. 터지다 (verb):  "to burst" or "pop"
  4. (noun):  "sweat" or "perspiration"
  5. 젖다 (verb):  "get [be] wet [drenched]" or "get damp" or "get moist" or "get soaked"
  6. 울리다 (verb):  "sound" or "ring" or "toll" or "peal" or "go off" or "echo" or "(around/through) reverberate" or "resound"
    1. *Usually translates as "cry" but in this context it has a different meaning.
  7. 퍼지다 (verb):  "to spread (out)" or "flare out"
  8. 춤추다 (verb):  "dance (a dance" or "do a dance"
  9. 적시다 (adjective):  "wet" 
  10. 사작되다 (verb):  "begin"

Politeness Level:
Low Casual
The singer is extremely confidant with the listener.  The speaker either thinks of the listener as someone far beneath their status or the listener is a child.
-->  In this case, the singer feels extremely comfortable with the listener.

March 24, 2014

Review: SM The Ballad - Vol. 2 "Breath"

Hey guys, sorry for the long wait!  (School rocks for education and learning but sucks for side projects and hobbies...). Since none of us are music critics, Rachel came up with a simple rubric to grade the album in review. Click here for the rubric. 

S.M. The Ballad is back!!!  They're back, but with different members. The Ballad was always meant to be a rotating group and all, and I'm happy and sad about that.  Now that Jay is in the military, Jino is in undebuted purgatory (aka, some musical in Japan), and Kyuhyun is busy keeping his variety show king title, Jonghyun is left as SM's resident male balladier and the only "original" Ballad member to remain.  But watch out Jonghyun, Yesung is back from the army...
Interestingly, the first album is pure instrumental - a very curious and refreshing addition to SM material.  It's a good musical introduction to "Breath" if you're into listening to compositions as a whole, but I suspect that most K-Pop fans will skip over it.

This particular album is interesting in the fact that SM has released a Korean, Chinese, and Japanese version of the title song "Breath."  My little gripe is wondering where in the heck is the English version?  Ballads may be SM's way into the English-language market and it wouldn't really matter how well it did as a single, since the Korean version is their main focus.  They could get Henry and Amber to sing it and it would be perfect.


Rachel: I really like this song.  I'm not a music critic or even a music major so I can't be all technical, but I like this song.  Personally, I'm biased towards the Chinese version.  First, I'm glad to Zhang Liyin coming out of the dark and lonely SM dungeon. Second, I love how her lighter and airier voice contrasts with Chen's deeper and richer voice.

The Korean version, Jonghyun and Taeyeon, is my neutral choice.  After hearing the contrast between Zhang Liyin and Chen, I didn't feel that Jonghyun and Taeyeon had voices that contrasted enough. They seem to be in the same range/register (sorry, not a music expert!) and vocal "flavor", and the voices sounds eerily similar during the harmonies. When Kyuhyun and Tiffany did "아름다운 그대에게 (Rise & Shine)," they had similar registers but different vocal "flavor." 

My least favorite version was the Japanese version.  While the voices contrast nicely like the Chinese version, I don't think the voices fit this particular song.  Changmin was and is TVXQ's power vocal. His specialty seems to lie in belting and this song really isn't built for a belt-er (say that ten times fast). This ballad also doesn't really suit Krystal's voice.  I personally think that BoA should have been Changmin's partner, seeing as she knows Japanese more intimately, but I understand SM's desire to include a member from f(x). (I would vote for J-Min to get back in the spotlight, but BoA has enough charisma to stand up to Changmin while J-Min does not).  BoA can do breathy, but Krystal's voice seems more...grounded?  But then and again, she's no Jessica.  Her voice is more suited for songs like "좋았던 건, 아팠던 건 When I Was… When U Were..."

Hara: Just as Rachel mentioned above, none of us are music critics/majors, so I would like to keep it simple :) My opinion on "Breath" is basically the same as Rachel's. There's just something about Chen and Zhang Li Yin's Chinese version which really stands out more than the rest. When the video teasers first came out, my little SONE heart was sure than our adorable kid-leader, Taeyeon, was going to dominate but I have to give it to Zhang Li Yin on this one. Also, it's amazing of Chen to be able to stand his ground against a power-house vocal like Li Yin, despite only at 2 years into his debut. Even though I did enjoy the Korean version with Jonghyun and Taeyeon, it's like a half/half for me. Also similar to Rachel, the Japanese version was my least favorite however, mega props to my girl Krystal for improving so much! 


When I Was...When U Were...
Rachel: "좋았던 건, 아팠던 건 When I Was… When U Were..." is one of my favorite songs.  Krystal and Chen's voices are perfect for this.  This actually is my favorite song on the album.  They're both relatively young so I think their youth brings a little bit of innocence and energy to this song.  This song is in the same vein as Jessica and Onew's "One Year Later" (parted lovers who meet again) but their voices give a more puppy love/first love feel than Jessica and Onew's mature and serious love. 



A Day Without You
Rachel: "하루 A Day Without You" is good as a song, but once again I wish they had picked different voices.  Jonghyun and Chen have such similar voices that they should have chosen one or the other.  Heck, when EXO covers SHINee who ends up getting Jonghyun's parts and sounding like a dead ringer?  Chen!  There's no denying they aren't good singers, but to a casual listener (or the first listen) it's difficult to distinguish who is who.  I keep this on repeat because I like the song, but if my music is on shuffle, I find myself forgetting this is a duet and not a solo.  Personally, I would have liked a Chen/Baekhyun duet (one from EXO-K and one from EXO-M ;)), but I can only wish.  ^^



Rachel: "Blind" is Yesung's "re-debut" after being in the army.  While he's still in the army until April, this is a way to get the public reacquainted with him and to get them to anticipate his return to Super Junior (who should be making a fall comeback if the rumors are to be believed.)  I must be biased toward Chinese or I'm just excited the ZhouMi is back in ring, but I prefer ZhouMi's version over Yesung's.  :/  I also think SM should have taken the opportunity to "debut" Yuta, an SMRookie and SM's only Japanese signee.  They did it for Jino last time.  But then again, thanks to SM's total lack of information on the Rookies, I have no idea if Yuta can even sing (what if he's a rapper or dancer like Shindong and can't sing at all...?).




Rachel: Excellent. SM needs to work on its voice pairings but otherwise a well put together piece of work.



March 15, 2014

SM's Future and Possible New SM Girl Group in 2014?

2014 may be a big year for SM Entertainment.  According to the Shinhan Investment Corporation's predictions, there are lots of albums predicted to being dropped.  TVXQ and Girls' Generation in the first quarter, SHINee and EXO in the second quarter, and Super Junior and a new girl group in the third quarter.  Also, f(x) is rumored to be making a comeback curtesy of Teddy Riley, plus two new surprise projects, one being TOHEART (Key and Woohyun) and the other probably being S.M. The Ballad's comeback with new members.  On top of this, Girls' Generation also says they're planning to release their fifth studio album sometime this year.

If Girls' Generation releases their fifth studio album then any new girl group might be pushed back until 2015 or 2016.  SM Entertainment wouldn't risk de-emphasizing a Girls' Generation album by releasing a new girl group, nor would they risk dampening the potential of a new girl group by debuting them under Girls' Generation's star.

If SM is truly planning on debuting a girl group, they are at least one member short of the smallest group SM has produced.  Their next girl group would have to be the successors of the Girls' Generation torch, much like EXO is the successor of Super Junior's.  This means they need more girls.  Wendy, Irene, and Seulgi are almost guaranteed to be debuting with this group and their two other female SMROOKIES are too young to debut.  Jeesu is older at around 12-14 and Lami is 10.  Seeing as how much backlash SM received for Sulli and Krystal's young debut, they probably wouldn't risk it with these two.  SM may be planning to add in one or two girls collected during Global Auditions, but such a quick debut would eliminate all except those who were already fluent in Korean (getting rid of the possibility of a non-Korean group member) unless they have more trainees up their sleeves that they are planning on introducing.

There is one more possibility.  Zhang Liyin and J-Min.  True, they are both solo artists, but they haven't had much success.  Not only would it boost SM's new group to five members, but it would be assured that this group would have talent.  Wendy can sing, judging by her Mimi OST release and so can Seulgi (sorta...her Christmas carol really isn't much right now) and Irene seems to only be pretty face.  They also won't be lacking too much in dance; Irene, Wendy, and Seulgi have shown off their dance skill through a dance clips released on SMROOKIES and the ABC special and Zhang Liyin almost made it into Girls' Generation.  

On top of that, Zhang Liyin speaks Chinese while J-Min speaks Japanese.  Wendy speaks English so that would make the group SM's most multi-lingual.  They're looking into the Japanese market and this would be a great way to keep the door open to Japan, China, and North America.  While these girls are older, so is Irene.  Even if they release Irene, Seulgi, and Wendy as a trio, they would still be 23, 19, and 19 (Wendy's rumored age), much older than most of the debuting girl groups today.  Zhang Liyin and J-Min are both 25 and it wouldn't be much of an age different as they're only two years older than Irene.

Interestingly enough, in the little we know about Wendy, SM makes sure to emphasize the fact she plays multiple instruments, including the guitar and flute.  J-Min also plays I see an interesting set-up in the future?

So what do you guys think?

March 5, 2014

Korean SM Weekly Auditions Change Location

Once again, SM has changed the location of their Weekly Auditions in Korea on us!  They are now located at the COEX Artium.

Yesterday they updated their Facebook page with this message:
[Please credit SM The SMART STYLE, Rachel Devlin, or angelsunfoldedwings if you use the translation]
- 토요공개 오디션 장소 변경 안내 
[S.M. Entertainment Weekly Audition]
- Information about the change in location for the Saturday Open Auditions.
2014년 3월 8일부터 토요 공개 오디션의 장소가 기존 에브리싱 압구정점 지하 1층에서 'SMTOWN@COEX ARTIUM'으로 변경됩니다.
오디션 참가자 분들은 착오 없으시길 바랍니다~!
Hello, I am in charge of the SM Entertainment Audition.
The Saturday Open Audition previously held in the basement of everysing in Apgujeong will now be changed to the SMTOWN@COEX ARTIUM" starting March 8th, 2014.
I hope there will be no confusion for audition participants~!
[lit. All audition participants, please do not make the error (of trying to audition at everysing)]

According to the map provided, the address is 511 COEX ARTIUM, 5th floor, Yeongdong daero, Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea
(서을시 강남구 영동대로 511 COEX ARTIUM 5층)

March 2, 2014

Let's Learn Together: Mr. Mr. // 소녀시대

Let's Learn Together:  Mr. Mr. // 소녀시대

Song:  Mr. Mr.
Artist:  소녀시대  //  Girls' Generation  (少女時代)  //  SNSD)
Album:  Mr. Mr. - The Fourth Mini-Album
Company:  SM Entertainment

English:  7 / 10
Translation Difficulty:  4 / 10

Please credit "" or "angelsfallfast."
[Edit:  3/21/12]

Just A Few Words:
As much as I loved "The Boys" and "I GOT A BOY" (yeah, I know, one of a few...), "Mr. Mr." is where Girls' Generation hits the mark.  It has the maturity and catchiness of "The Boys" but the funkiness of "I GOT A BOY."  One of my new favorites!
I also have to credit my sister for the "diamond in the rough" line.  I got to the "turn coal into diamonds" and she mentioned that saying.  :)

English:  7 / 10
There's not that much English in this song, other than the titular "Mr. Mr."  "You so bad" is grammatically incorrect but correct in the vernacular.  So I'll let that slide.  But the line "My Mi, Mi, Mister" hurt.  Yuri already has a thick accent so on the first listen I thought it was "My mean mean Mister" but that would be incorrect within the context of the song.  But the lyrics on Naver Music say "Mi, Mi"  Not "Mi-Mi" (which would indicate they were trying to split up the word) but "Mi, Mi."  Huh?

Translation Difficulty:  4 / 10
I also think that my Korean is getting better...this was easier for me!  Yay~!  Hopefully this means I can get more translations out, quicker.

10 Words:
  1. 재다 (verb):  show off
  2. 앞서 가다 (verb):  go ahead (first); go before
  3. 최고의 (adjective):  top; number one; top-notch
  4. 유리조각 (noun):  a broken piece of glass; glass splinter
  5. 빛내다 (adverb):  {enhance, honor, acclaim}
  6. 열쇠 (noun):  key (to), clue (to)
  7. 소년 (noun):  boy
  8. 끌어안다 (verb):  embrace
  9. 치열하다 (verb):  fierce, intense
  10. 이뤄내다 (verb):  clinch; nail (down)

Politeness Level:
The singer(s) are comfortable to the audience.  They are close friends, family, or in a relationship.