Confettis of words

the bits and sketches in life


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61 A Drop of Thoughts: 2PM’s My House

2PM makes a  comeback with their new album simply entitled No. 5, and it has stolen my heart. It’s classy and mature, closer to their third album Grown which I always consider as their best Korean album. I’m proud that they’re back with another musical achievement, an album that is solid and brave enough not to follow the trend.

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The MV for the title track My House lies more on a beautiful visual presentation instead of the choreography (a common formula for K-pop MVs). The MV blends several fairy tales, from Beauty and The Beast to Snow White, into a well-cinematographed narrative about the female lead Cinderella who has to go home when the clock strikes midnight. But before she goes home, 2PM members tease her so she will stay, or to be exact to come home with them (naughty 2PM is naughty). However, if fairy tales commonly portray women as passive and weak, this Cinderella is different. She intentionally leaves her glass shoe on the stairs. She will come home for now, but she expects 2PM members to find her. A twist to the fairy tale, and to me it’s an act that shows woman’s agency in a relationship/a potential relationship.

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Do we need to talk about how the members look so good in the MV? Oh yes, we need to! They all look dashing in suits, especially Jun. K who slays the Victorian tie. Their outfits in the dance part are actually simple but the colours make them look flamboyant. I also love the shoes that they wear, giving casual hints to the whole look. Now JYPE, give us the dance practice MV and we’ll be the happiest Hottests ever.

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I instantly fall in love with My House upon the first hearing. Composed by Jun. K, this song is different from other title tracks because it’s not a powerful dance track, which people often anticipate from 2PM. Instead, My House is a medium tempo song with acoustic guitar sound through the whole song. Each member plays their part well, even Nichkhun sounds comfortable singing his lines. To be honest, it’ll be hard for 2PM to win music shows while Big Bang and EXO are still promoting, but I pray hard they’ll get the appreciation they deserve. It’s time for K-pop to pay attention to more music and less controversy.

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36 My concert adventure: mid-year recap

June almost ends, and it means we’re reaching the mid-year. Concert-wise, I had great fun in the first half of the year. I didn’t have the chance to go to a lot of gigs, but the ones I’ve attended were all fun and unforgettable. So here’s the short recap of each concert!

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1. LUKIEBEAT (Lunafly and LC9) – January 19th at Jungleland, Sentul

I wasn’t a fan of Lunafly and LC9. I knew Lunafly because some people in my timeline were fans, and I happened to be familiar with LC9 because of King’s hair. But since I got a free pass, I thought, why not? The fact that the venue was unusual (a theme park!) also gave me another reason to go. It took approximately one and a half hour to go to the venue, and it was raining on the way there. When we arrived, we were greeted by the cold breeze. The rain kept falling while we’re waiting for the concert to begin. The rain caused me to feel a bit grumpy, but Lunafly and LC9’s performance made me forget the terrible weather. Both groups performed whole-heartedly and gave fans their best. Unexpectedly, LUKIEBEAT was fun!

2. Genesis of 2PM Tour – March 17th and 18th at Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo

After failing to see them in Jakarta and Bangkok, I finally got to see 2PM in Tokyo. It’s my second time watching a concert in Japan, yet this one was special since Tokyo in March was FREAKING COLD. Anyway, from technical aspects, the lighting and the sound of the concert were awesome. Not to mention the grand opening VCR! I remember I gasped watching it hahaha.  I was also glad I could see Wooyoung again, even though after what had happened I wasn’t that excited anymore hehehe. It’s too bad Jun. K and Taecyeon were not really fit at that time (I blamed their schedule for this).

I’ve travelled that far to see 2PM, wow. Was it worth it? Honestly, if I remember the concerts, I still wish if only Jun. K and Taecyeon had been healthy, it would have left a better impression to me. Well, let’s just hope that my next 2PM’s concert will be a more awesome experience 🙂

3. MBLAQ – March 18th at Zepp Tokyo

Although it’s only a release event of their new single, I enjoyed it since I had been missing MBLAQ after their concert in Jakarta in 2012. The boys were lovely as usual, especially Mir my Energizer bunny! Lee Joon also looked super gorgeous, my sister and I kept commenting how he shone that day! Actually there was a high-five session after that if you bought the single. But but but I didn’t prepare money for it so I had to slip it. UGH I SHOULD’VE TAKEN THE CHANCE TO TOUCH JOON’S PALMS.

4. B.A.P Live on Earth Singapore Attack – May 31st at The Star Theatre

THIS is seriously one of the best K-pop concerts I’ve ever attended. I enjoyed every moment of B.A.P’s performance, and the concert has left me with mixed emotions. I was happy, excited, proud and touched at the same time. So far only two concerts that managed to make me feel like this: TVXQ’s Catch Me World Tour in Hong Kong and Live on Earth Singapore. Okay, this might sound embarrassing but I did sob hard on my friend’s shoulder after the concert. Like I said, too many emotions in my chest at that time. I guess my only way to express them was by crying hahaha.

Experience has brought B.A.P this far, and I felt so honoured I had the opportunity to see these amazing boys on stage. Can’t wait to see more from B.A.P! (read my review of LOE SG here)


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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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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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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


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25 The Twin Champions: 2013 Favourite Albums

2013 has been a good year for music. In Korean pop scene, many albums offer new stories, various sounds and memorable songs that deserve high appreciation. I think GD’s Coup D’Etat is an excellent achievement, so is f(x)’s Pink Tape although sadly it doesn’t receive the attention it should have deserved. Despite the plagiarism issue, B.A.P also has done well for their two mini albums, One Shot and Badman. I can say I enjoy VIXX’s Voodoo and SHINee’s The Misconception of Me as well. Nevertheless, there are only two albums that have a special place in my heart. They come from two different genres and scenes, but each is great at its place.

2PM – Grown

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It’s obvious that the third album Grown is a declaration from 2PM that they’ve, well,  grown. Instead of ‘grown’, I’d rather say that 2PM is growing. They’re currently in the process of evolution from idols to musicians. Even though they still relied on JYP’s songs for their promotional singles, Grown shows that each member is able to contribute something to the album production. It also gives us some of 2PM’s best songs such as A.D.T.O.Y, Zero Point, Game Over and Dangerous. Despite the opinion that says Grown is a failure, I’d say it’s an accomplishment for its musical development and determination. A transitional phase is never easy, and changes are not always well-received. However, Grown confirms that with their talent and willingness to always learn, 2PM will do well.

Read my full review of Grown here.

Glen Check – Youth!

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In Youth!, the duo Glen Check keeps the formula from their previous releases. The electro-pop and the 80’s sounds are still there, but this time they’re polished with more catchiness. It’s just a very enjoyable album and truly represents the dynamic spirit of youth culture. Starting with The Match Open, which is an epic opening song, Youth! continues to entertain my ears until the last track, Jordan. My favourite tracks are mostly in the first half of the album, the part they call the band-session part. Pacific is a colourful, summer-y song, Paint It Gold gives refreshing sound to Glen Check’s music with its violin-like sound, and Youth in Revolt is a tribute to New York punk funk scene. In short, Youth! is fresh, energetic and attractive. With other acts like The Koxx and Eastern Sidekick, Glen Check reminds us that Korean indie scene is something we don’t wanna miss.


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24 Six Colours: solo stages in The Legend of 2PM in Tokyo Dome

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The concert in Tokyo Dome last April marks a big step for 2PM’s career in Japan. If you were there, you’re very lucky to have witnessed the legendary moment. If you were not (like me), at least we can watch it now because the DVD has been released *dances in joy*. Despite the small flaws (like Wooyoung lost his mask during Masquerade and Junho left some foundation on his white jacket …), the concert itself is a big feast for the ears and the eyes. Not to mention that it’s truly emotional. It would require a very long post to talk about the whole concert, so here I’m just gonna share my impression about the solo stages.

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The first solo stage is Wooyoung with Sexy Lady. After Don’t Stop, Can’t Stop, the camera follows Wooyoung to the back stage and shoots him while he’s changing his outfit. With a teasing smile. No, you can’t expect me to stay quiet and put a flat expression while watching this scene. A big thank you to whoever-had-this-brilliant-idea!

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Having performed this song for many times, Wooyoung looks confident with his solo stage. His dance is, like always, full of energy, flexibility and charisma. His expression is a bit awkward though when with the girls but I guess that’s how he is …

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However, in voice department it’s clear that Wooyoung’s still struggling. He doesn’t have any problem with the verses but in the reffrain he still depends on the playback. I think it’s not because of the tempo since he sounded good when performing Wall to Wall, which is a medium-tempo song too with a challenging choreography. I can’t help but blaming the song. I don’t know, I always think that Sexy Lady isn’t suitable for Wooyoung.

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For I Love You, You Love Me, Taecyeon brings a gang of Ok Cats on stage since one is not enough! Before that, a video is played, showing one Ok Cat greeting the fans outside Tokyo Dome. Not knowing that it’s Taecyeon inside the costume, the fans took photos and hugged him. When finally it’s revealed that it’s the master himself, the audience instantly screams hahaha.

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Actually, even though Taecyeon holds the rapper position in the group, he sings quite well like in Traición. Yet due to over-excitement, his voice is shaky in several parts.

taec-iloveu-3Overall, Taecyeon’s solo performance is cute. It’s hard for a big bulky guy to act naturally cute, but he manages in doing so. The performance is designed to be light and fun, so just expect it to be like that. It’s not Taecyeon’s best performance to be honest, but he got an A from me for his effort in building happy atmosphere for the crowd.

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Nichkhun cools down the atmosphere with Let It Rain. I have to say it is truly beautiful. I didn’t expect Nichkhun’s voice would be that stable but it was! He doesn’t sing in acrobatic notes or tries to show off his singing skill. He just wants to deliver his gratitude to Hottest who have been supporting him. That’s what makes his solo stage sound so sincere.

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There are so many close-up shots of Nichkhun’s performance, and I love how the camera exposes his natural face with all the zits. You can also see how serious he is when performing. (and look at those beautifully bushy eyebrows!)

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Supported by a great stage design and composition and proper lighting, Nichkhun’s Let It Rain is one of the prettiest performances from the whole concert.

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Meanwhile, Jun K offers a massive performance. A choir starts the performance in a thetrical way, and they sing the intro of Alive before he appears, ready for True Swag. Even from the way he stands, you know that Jun K’s gonna slay the stage.

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The outfit is a bit too much, I think. It would look classier if he took off that ‘handkerchief’. Other than that, everything else is great and suits the concept of the song. There is a part where he suddenly wears this big bad wolf mask. I don’t really see the relevance of the mask with the song but somehow it looks cool and adds the dramatic effect.

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It’s unfair how Jun K can both sing and rap so marvellously! His strong voice fills the whole Dome, so hypnotizing. The last rap part is uh-may-zing and it closes the performance in  a grand and victorious way.

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Another performance that got me anxious is Chansung’s Oh. The screen shows him driving a car, meeting a lady in red, getting bitten and turning into a vampire. A bit predictable actually, but Chansung looks gorgeous in it, so … it’s forgiven.

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Despite the tacky VCR, Chansung presents a satisfying performance. His voice is relatively steady and he doesn’t sound trembling even when he moves a lot. From all Chansung’s solo songs, Oh is my favourite so it’s a big relief to see him performing this song well. By the way, red and blue are the colours that dominate that solo stage. Combine those two colours and you have, voila, purple, Chansung’s color 🙂

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 When it comes to exploring emotion , Chansung is always the best. He shows proper chemistry wih the female dancer. There are passion, curiosity and mysteriousness, and our magnae brings them all to the stage in such a stylish way.

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My most favourite solo stage goes to Junho’s Say Yes. Showing his boyish charm, he has magnetized us starting from the VCR until the end of the performance. Junho’s voice is flexible in a way he could sing in various genres but I think he’s the most excellent when he sings rock songs.

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His solo stage is full of energy and confidence. No back-up dancers, no hi-tech stage design, no unnecessary choreography like in Just A Feeling. Only him alone on stage but how he looks and sounds amazing! He runs around the stage and jumps like an Energizer penguin to the beat of the song. He also teases the crowd when he cups his ear, trying to hear their voice. It’s a teaser of Kimi no Koe, very smart of you, Junho 😀

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Well, what can I say? Lee Junho knows what he wants and he knows how to do it amazingly.

What I like about 2PM is that even though as a team they’re rock solid, each member still manages to demonstrate his individual talent through solo performance. Six solo stages with six colours and they all shine in their own way.