28
Jul 13

Backstreet Boys – ‘In A World Like This’ album review

I’m going to take a break from my usual K-pop reviews to write about the boyband that, in fact, set the modern-day trend for boybands everywhere. Backstreet Boys weren’t the first boyband in showbiz, but they were the world’s biggest as far as success went, and still the best selling boyband of all time!

But first, my history with Backstreet Boys.

The first time I read about the Backstreet Boys was back in the December 1994 issue of Live & Kicking magazine. I now wish I had kept the issue safe, since it was supposedly their first interview to a British magazine. In the issue, L&K were attending one of Backstreet Boys’ showcase performance at some American mall. It was in 1995 I heard their first single on radio, “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” — which only just managed to crack the UK top 40. Followed by “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” which too lurked out around the 30s on the UK charts.

It wasn’t until 1996 when “Get Down” broke in to the UK top 20, and I remember seeing the Backstreet Boys for the first time on Top of The Pops. That was followed by “Anywhere For You” and the group’s breakout hit single, “Quit Playing Games”. After that, Backstreet Boys re-released “We Got It Goin’ On” and “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” in the UK to better success. By now, Backstreet Boys were one of the best boybands in my school-going world.

Then came 1997. Oh-my-god. ‘Backstreet’s Back‘ was released. That summer of 1997 was particularly exciting for me. “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “As Long As You Love Me” were unstoppable on radio and the videos were equally popular on Channel [V], which was a music channel worth watching back in the day. I returned after the summer holidays of ’97 to a school where practically everyone had either of two string backpacks: Backstreet Boys or Titanic. It was that year when girls were going gaga over Leonardo DiCaprio and everyone else was dancing or listening to the Backstreet Boys. Practically every friend of mine owned a copy of ‘Backstreet’s Back‘.

Then the boys made it big in their home country and lead the wave of the teen pop craze that followed. Even though I turned into a ‘N Sync fanboy, I never disliked Backstreet Boys. The singles off ‘Millennium‘ were exciting, but I thought the rest of the album was “meh”. I liked ‘Black & Blue‘ more as a album.

Backstreet boys first 4 album covers

The first wave of Backstreet Boys (1995 – 2000)

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11
Jul 13

Jay Park – ‘I Like 2 Party’ mini-album review

I’m not going to begin this review by stating how much of a Jay Park fan I am. I think that’s pretty much given by now. But everytime my favourite solo K-pop artist makes a comeback, I get excited. Usually because the dude rarely disappoints!

We got a tease for “I Like 2 Party” when it was announced the song would feature in the end credits for the Korean release of Will Smith’s flopAfter Earth‘. Even in that tease, I knew the song would be awesome. And now that the song is finally out, I can safely say, “yup, it’s awesome!”.

Jay Park I Like 2 Party mv screencapHere’s a track-by-track review of the mini-album:

01. “I Like 2 Party” – Produced by Jay Park’s close friend and frequent collaborator Cha Cha Malone, “I Like 2 Party” is by far the best song he’s produced for Jay. It’s an absolute dance jam perfect for getting warmed up for a night out with friends. There are times when segments of the song sound as though the mixers tried hard to piece them together, but in the end, it sounds just fine. Watch out for Jay’s inner-Usher with a “yeeaaah manboy” at 1:36 :)

The MV is alright. It’s isn’t well-edited to be frank, because there are a few scenes in which you notice the lips aren’t in-sync with the words. Either that or I have a hunch Jay also recorded a complete English version of “I Like 2 Party”. You also don’t get to see the choreography for the song all too well — but I’m sure there’s going to be a dance version out soon. The women aren’t Korean (for a change) and yeah, they’re sexy — but make for an odd mix with with their fluorescent colours. Then again, why one earth am I deliberating so much over a music video? The song is awesome and that’s all that matters! – 5/5

02. “Hot” – Man, what-a-club stomper! Yeah, yeah… some will say it sounds like G-Dragon’s “Crayon,” but whatever. This another smashing tune and I never expected such a good song on a four-track mini-album. – 4/5

03. “Secret” – A classic R & B track that doesn’t do anything wrong. A bit formulaic, but good enough that it didn’t make me want to skip the song. – 3/5

04. “Let’s Get Back Together” – Inspired by old school, early 1990s pop, this is a sound a I’m hearing from Jay for the first time. A decent attempt though. – 2.5/5

This mini-album is fairly uptempo, so I wonder what Jay Park has up his sleeve for his next release. Jay did reveal at the end of Jay Park TV Ep. 6 that he’s got more singles coming out soon. Since “I Like 2 Party” is just a digital release, I’m hoping for a second full-length album. From the killer “Appetizer,” the lovely “JO-AH” to the impressive “I Like 2 Party,” 2013 seems like it’s going to be another great year for Jay Park and his fans!


10
Apr 13

Jay Park – ‘JOAH’ review

My favourite solo K-pop artist is back with new music! I always look forward to new releases from Jay Park as rarely has the dude disappointed. Jay put out an awesome English-Korean rap track (appropriately titled) “Appetizer” in February, produced by fellow Art Of Movement crew member and good friend Cha Cha Malone. Needless to say, that was just a teaser to what Jay Park has on the way.

Jay Park Joah MV screencapTitled ‘JOAH,’ this is yet another set of releases before Jay Park comes out with his second full-length album. He employed a similar strategy last year before the release of the stellar ‘New Breed’.

“JOAH”

Going by the teaser, I figured “Joah” was going to be in the same vein as “Girlfriend” was. And with a title that means “like” in Korean, it was sure to be a sweet tribute to a girl crush. “Joah” is a mid-tempo track with subtle piano keys that keep you swinging in melancholy, or simply bopping your head to the thumping beats. The song isn’t groundbreaking in anyway, and is a reminder the production talents of Jay Park’s friends can be a bit limiting (to some extent). It does feel familiar — but I still ended up liking it after two or three listens.

What I liked more was the music video, filmed in Jay Park’s hometown of Seattle. It’s a refreshing change of scene and literally “out of the box,” if you K-pop MV addicts know what I mean. There isn’t any choreographed dancing either, but no worries, we Jaywalkerz know he has moves in store for his next release ;)

“Joah” is a good listen none the less. Proof that Jay Park, despite his image of body tattoos and overall badass-ery, is just a sweet homeboy at heart. – 3.5/5

Jay Park Joah MV screencapThe other tracks on this EP include “Welcome” – a sexy bedroom track. Jay just seems to love making slow ballads like this, or it’s just his love for R&B contemporaries like Treyz Songz and the like. Finally we have “1HUNNIT” featuring frequent collaborator Dok2. This sounds like Snoog Dogg track I can’t seem put my finger on (or was it Busta Rhymes?).

Still, with four songs out already, I can’t wait to see what Jay Park has in store for the rest of the year. His contract with SidusHQ ends this year and he’s already stated his crew are filming several music videos for his upcoming album. This could also be Jay Park’s last Korean album for a while as he attempt to crack America next.

Rest assured, 2013 sounds like it could be an exciting year for us fans!

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