Confettis of words

the bits and sketches in life


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32 On Genesis of 2PM by 2PM

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It took lots of scratching out, revising and editing to write the review for 2PM’s Japanese third album Genesis of 2PM. After listening to the album for the first time, I immediately wrote down my impression. But then I decided to re-write everything because after several more listenings and discussions with fellow Hottests, I changed my mind about some aspects of the album.

It’s obvious that Genesis of 2PM was intended to be a grand record, as we can see from the album jacket and the outfits the members wear in it. The album has also been promoted massively. Newspapers, huge posters in the middle of the city, pillars on train stations, special drinks: all are decorated to promote Genesis of 2PM. This huge promotion has built a certain expectation but does the album live up to it? Answering this question is, of course, not easy since fans have different levels of expectation. My own answer is, no, this album does not meet its expectation, and this review will elaborate that answer.

If you listen to the songs randomly, you won’t find any problem since each song in GO2PM has precious elements to listen to. The first single Give Me Love combines dance beat with guitar sound, and the result is a very stylish song. Then another single Winter Games wins for its emotion and construction. However, if you try to follow the flow and see it as a unity with one solid concept, this is where the trouble appears.

Following the formula of LO2PM with The Legend (and way back in 01:59 with My Heart), GO2PM begins with Taecyeon’s monologue in Genesis. Thunder, rain and choir build this epic atmosphere. Just imagine that the grand door in the cover is opening wide, and you’re taken to go through that door. That’s how Genesis works for me.  The grand image promised in Genesis exists in songs like Merry Go Round and Lasting Heart. Composed by Wooyoung, Merry Go Round is a rock song that has an interesting transition from verses to reffrain. Moreover, it’s always nice to hear Jun K’s rap.  I just wish that real drum set was used instead of drum machine. It would bring bigger audio effects. Meanwhile, Lasting Heart is a huge song adorned by a collosal orchestra. It’s perfect for an anime soundtrack.

Unfortunately, Falling in Love, Only Girl, Beat of Love, I Want You, Step by Step and Stay Here sound too distant from the other songs. I love all songs that I just mentioned but to me they are too sweet and groovy for such a heavy concept. Let’s take Only Girl as an example. With its brass section and beautiful melody, this song sounds closer to Grown. I Want You is an exciting track too. The marching drum sound for the intro is lovely , then the song elevates gradually into an upbeat track. Although in terms of rhythm I Want You is very dynamic (the verses, the reffrain, the bridge and the rap have different beats), the transformation goes smoothly. But back to my previous argument, these songs don’t connect with the vision of the album.

Despite the absence of an integrated concept, Genesis of 2PM actually contains strong and remarkable tracks. Although the 80s-ish beat in Next Generation is a bit tacky, the song is enjoyable. I still think Stay Here is very charming with its New Order-influence. It has a gentle flow, right emotion and tender piano sounds. Stay Here deserves more attention since it is such a beauty. The disco rhythm in Falling in Love can also be found in Beat of Love. It’s a happy song that will make you jig. My favourite part of the track is the reffrain, in which Wooyoung does his part nicely. Surprisingly, there isn’t any pure ballad song (which seems to be a must for any pop album) in Genesis of 2PM. We have the heart-comforting Beautiful Day though, and it’s fine enough to close the album.

Probably dramatic concepts are suitable for Japanese market. Nevertheless, I personally think for their next Japanese album 2PM should make things less pretentious. Embracing and developing the simple and mature sound will be a significant accomplishment for their career in Japan. It takes a skillful art to be modest and outstanding at the same time, but seeing what they’ve achieved in Stay Here and Give Me Love, 2PM only need a little practice to master it.

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31 Those Old Blogging Days

Suddenly had this sudden urge to read over my old blog posts from 4-5 years ago. It’s a memory lane indeed, and walking through it is always a fun experience. But at the same time, it makes me a bit sad because it has made me realize how greatly many things have changed.

The people that I knew and were close to are now physically and mentally distant. I need to try hard to memorize the lyrics of the songs that used to be on my playlist. I no longer visit places where I usually hung out with my friends. And obviously, the biggest change is in me.

Reading the old posts, I could say I sounded very pretentious back then. I had so many goals in life and I revealed ambitiously how to reach them all. I also used to be very transparent about my life. Without any hesitation I wrote down the details of my daily life, how I felt about certain people, and even the name of my crush-on. But I guess it’s because at that time cyber world wasn’t that crowded and people’s curiosity wasn’t as big as it is now. I noticed how I’ve become more cautious. I set the barrier higher. I didn’t jot stuffs down to the little bits, and instead about my personal life, I prefer to write more about music and books.

Although those old blogging days were wonderful, I somehow don’t want to write like the way I used to on those days. I’ve changed, and at the moment I choose to keep many details to myself and some to these friends whom I deeply trust. I suppose it’s just how life changes and how I’ve grown.


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30 Why 2PM?

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“Why did you write so much about 2PM?” some might ask. The simple answer would be because they always give me this inspiration to write. Since I started my fangirl’s life in my teenage years I’ve always expressed my enthusiasm and appreciation through writing in my personal diary. During my college days, I wrote even more because the major that I took trained my writing skill. That’s when I began writing reviews on music. I used to be an avid reader of Q magazine and NME as well and they kinda motivated me to practice my writing skill.

Back to the original question, why 2PM? I think in the past two years, 2PM has developed greatly  in terms of music and performance. I’m amazed and thrilled witnessing that, and to express those emotions, I write in my blog. Although I love these boys so much, I try not to be blinded by it and try to view their music in a (almost) fair perspective. If, for example, they do well, I’ll give them credits they deserve. On the other hand, if I don’t like one of their songs, I’ll say it with reasons. I believe honesty in judging their works will help them develop even more, and nothing excites me more than seeing them improve in what they do.

Of course everytime I judge I use my personal cultural capital, which is my limited knowledge about music in general and K-pop in particular. Some might agree with my writings and some might not, but that’s totally fine. I’m always open to any discussion when it comes about 2PM and their works. Trigger me and I can talk about them all day long 😀

Flaws exist in 2PM’s careers, and it means there are still tons of things they need to study. But I guess that’s what makes me enthusiastic, unable to take my eyes off them, and keep guessing what they’re going to deliver to their fans next. 2PM’s unpredictability is one of the reasons why I love them after all. I’m learning to be a good writer and reviewer and will always be learning. And I’m thankful in this process of learning I have 2PM who always inspires me.


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29 Solitude sometimes is …

I hate it when I’ve become too emotionally invested on things or people that actually don’t deserve my emotion that much. The first few days in 2014 have been mind and heart-draining, so exhausting. And when I’m mentally tired all I need is solitude, away from many voices. Being in solitude cools me down. Being in solitude gives me time to think clearly. The most important thing is it offers me a new perspective, to see the problems from another point of view. So that when I decide to come back to the chaos, I’ll be prepared to stand my ground and be ready to face any upcoming challenge.


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28 2PM in 2013 Year End’s Music Festivals

I’m glad that finally 2PM was back performing in year end’s music festival on TV stations. It’s one way to prove that somehow they’re still relevant in Korean music industry. Having the chance to appear in three major TV stations, they didn’t start it smoothly during KBS Gayo Daejun. However, then things turned out well and they ended the year in a grand way. So here’s what I think about each performance. Do note that it’s my personal opinion, and you’re always welcome to share your own!

2PM’s stage in KBS is my least favourite because it seems to me it’s not prepared properly. Outfit-wise, the blue ombre shirt is gorgeous but to me being good-looking on stage isn’t enough for 2PM. I’ve never doubted their talent and hard-work; however, their performance this time disappoints me. I cringed when watching it for the first time. Didn’t bother to see it again but ended up doing it to confirm my first impression. Still didn’t like it, unfortunately.

The idea for the opening was actually promising, yet it’s not executed well. There were many so many dancers wearing the white suits on stage, blending with 2PM members. If Wooyoung’s hair hadn’t been dyed like that, I wouldn’t have recognized him. Just like I said previously, the concept was actually nice but with so many people there it looks messy to me. Furthermore, the timing in some parts were not right, like when they had to open or close the door.

But the main problem is the transition of the beat. It’s not smooth my friend even thought the song had stopped accidentally in the middle! There were some unnecessary seconds there, which shouldn’t have happened. The remixed R&B version was good though! The additional choreography for A.D.T.O.Y wasn’t bad yet not new. I spotted some movements from Missing You there, guys~ Then the performance ended just like that. No surprise, no wow at all. “Gitu doang?!” This expression in Indonesian is probably the most suitable to describe what I felt.

Small things also somehow annoy the hell out of me, such as Jun K was too busy folding up his sleeves he missed the choreography and Taecyeon was struggling with his tie during the first verse. I could go on and on complaining about this KBS performance. Let’s just move on with the SBS stage then.

There’s a soft spot in my heart for orchestra, so when I saw how they arranged A.D.T.O.Y in orchestra version, I immediately fell in love. Added with a choir, things were even more grand. Their choice to perform Heartbeat in SBS was doubtful at first since it’s from 2009. A website even commented that this song choice may signify the end of 2PM’s glory days. In the end I laughed silently at them because 2PM’s performance in SBS was mind-blowing to me!

I think Heartbeat was chosen so that the transition from one song to another would be smooth. Heartbeat and A.D.T.O.Y are similar in terms of atmosphere so it’s a correct choice to connect the two songs. On SBS stage, 2PM performed Heartbeat almost flawlessly due to the fact that they’ve done it so many times. What’s interesting to me is that no matter how many times they’ve performed it, Heartbeat performance always looks massive to me. The choreography is always sharp, intense and precise. It’s too bad Chansung had a microphone problem at the beginning.

The orchestra version of  A.D.T.O.Y was majestic and the song became even more powerful. I actually shed some tears when listening to it for the first time (partly because of the PMS). They also elevated the choreography to the new level by using a different kind of chair. They used the wheels of the office chairs to move and turn around, which would have been challenging if they hadn’t calculated the movement of the wheels. The office chair also seems to send the message like who’s the boss here hahaha. And I can’t comprehend why the part when their point finger slowly traced the chair could look so dang sexy! I guess that’s 2PM’s strength, either with or without any shirt on, they can make many fangirls swoon.

The outfit got an A from me. The colour was classy and mature, and it looks good on them (especially on Wooyoung since his hair colour matches the outfit in a peculiar way). The outfit also brought a certain visual effect when they turned their backs to the audience during A.D.T.O.Y’s reffrain.

The thing that bothers me a bit is that Wooyoung was too striking in this performance. Don’t get me wrong. If you know me you know how much I love him, but his presence was too strong it kinda covered the other members’ aura. The camera adored him too much it gave him too many shots. Also, his voice cracked everytime he began his parts. I can’t help but chuckling everytime I listen to it.

The last stage was in MBC and they did save the best for the last! They took a brave decision to leave out the chairs in A.D.T.O.Y and finally exposed their *ehm* abs again after a long time. Not saying that the abs was the most important element  but it did make the performance tastier, right? I dig the part when Junho first appeared on stage alone then one by one Taecyeon and Chansung came, followed by the three. I really appreciate their effort to design three different choreographies for the three music festivals. Unfortunately, this one in MBC lasted too short while I actually wanted to see more of the new choreography.

If they wore blue in KBS and red in SBS, they decided to go black in MBC. Black never goes wrong for 2PM, and it’s totally the best colour for A.D.T.O.Y performance. Although Jun K’s velvet sweater isn’t really my thing and it looks cheap on the camera, it’s still acceptable. You know what’s not acceptable in this performance? Wooyoung’s fake tan. The tan doesn’t go with his hair colour, only making him look like an LA surfer kinda guy.

If you listen to Grown, I’m sure that there were times when you asked why Game Over hasn’t been promoted. It’s a mighty song and very 2PM for its angst and toughness. Thankfully, they listened to our demand and finally performed Game Over on television. They brought the shields to the stage and just blew us away. It’s obvious how they all gave all their best in Game Over. Special mention should go to Jun K (for his amazing voice) and Taecyeon (for his powerful expression). The movement of the shields was smooth, and not only as a mere property, the shields help in making the overall performance strong and striking.

They didn’t do any new arrangement for Game Over, which is understandable since they rarely perform this, not like A.D.T.O.Y. The only thing that I object from this performance is the VCR at the background. It’s already crowded on stage and it only made things visually messy (especially when the camera took a long shot).

All in all, 2013 was an unforgettable year for Hottests. Their idols are finally back, ready to conquer the scene again. Although the result might not be as pleasing as expected, I’m convinced that the boys have learned so much. Arena Tour, Genesis of 2PM, one and even maybe two Korean albums: we have so many things to anticipate in 2014. This is gonna be an exciting year indeed!

The recap of my writings on 2PM in 2013:
Review on Grown
Review on Kimi no Koe
Review on Winter Games
2PM’s Hidden Gems
3 Favourite Videos
On Junho’s appearance in Cold Eyes
Review on 23, Male, Singles
2PM’s solo stages in Tokyo Dome