Tag Archives: Culture

“Ask the USA”

11 Feb

united-globe

Hello readers, this is Gen Next talking to you straight.

I want to start a new series on this blog called ‘Ask the USA‘. This series will tackle questions about the USA asked by people from outside of the USA, questions coming from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and on this blog.

What inspired this series? Much of American entertainment and news are available around the world thanks to the internet. The news media and internet have turned American issues into global ones. American topics are beginning to affect people around the globe. Because of that, many foreigners are watching and wondering about some of the things going on in the USA. American issues also affect the responses people of the world get from Americans on social media websites, chat rooms, news websites, and other places that provide an opportunity for comments.

As a result, I’ve heard so many different questions about the USA. I’ve heard some of the same questions about the USA so often, I feel compelled to respond.

It’s natural for people to be curious about other nations, especially if people plan to travel one day. I’m naturally curious about issues going on in other countries as well. With that being said, I think a lot of people around the world would benefit from reading the articles in this series.

People from the USA may find these articles interesting as well. Other Americans may even want to add to these articles in the “comment” section.

I felt the need to write these articles because I’ve been in discussions with people from different countries and they’ve come to me about many things they’ve heard or experienced in the country and online with the citizens.

As a natural-born citizen, an African American woman, an adult working citizen (I pay my taxes), I think I am fully qualified to answer some of the questions people around the world have. I also think I’ve improved on my writing well enough for most people to understand. Hopefully, my humor has improved as well. Forgive me if it hasn’t. 😄 I’m working on shortening my articles as well.

I planned on starting this series in January, but so much has been going on in my life and in the world, I just couldn’t start this series that soon. Hopefully, I can start the series sometime this month or next month.

If you’re from outside of the USA, and you have questions, you can leave me a comment with your question and I will try to answer it in this series. Of course, the priority questions will be the questions that more than one person asks. Please be patient for all other questions. I will try to get to everyone’s questions.

So far, the topics that have been of interest include:

  • Donald Trump’s presidency
  • Racism and Race relations in the USA
  • Native Americans
  • The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • American English versus British English
  • Americans’ Views on Women and Sexualization

These topics are just a starting point.

I am really excited about this series and I hope that I can answer everyone’s questions. Don’t be afraid to ask!

~From Generation Next

 

Got7 7-Question Quiz!

9 May

In honor of K-pop boy band Got7’s first U.S. tour, GN has dedicated the WHOLE week to Got7!

Got7 has made their way to California and Illinois. Next, they will be hitting Texas!

Got7’s first U.S. Tour

If you don’t know who Got7 is, mosey on over to this link —->Got7, the Korean “New Kids on the Block”

For Got7 fans still anxiously waiting to see their idols in Dallas, Texas, this quiz is sure to pump you up!

got7-blog1.jpg

So let’s begin, shall we?

The quiz should be relatively easy for Got7 fans! But for those new to the group, perhaps you’ll learn a bit about them.

Question 1: Can you name all seven members by their full REAL names and stage names?

*Bonus* How did each member get their stage names?

Question 2: How many siblings does each member have?

Question 3: True or False: Every member is from Korean.

Question 4: What K-drama series did all Got7 members star in?

*Bonus* What was the name of the boy group in the series?

Question 5: List the members from oldest to youngest.

Question 6: What was the EXACT date that Got7’s first EP dropped?

Question 7: When did each member first make their appearance as idols?

Was it hard? I think some of the questions may be challenging. But give it your best!

ANSWERS BELOW: To reveal the answers, you have to highlight the white space below! Or click the link below the white space!

Question 1: Im Jae-bum (JB), Mark Yien Tuan (Mark), Jackson Wang (Jackson), Park Jin-young (Jr.), Choi Youngjae (Youngjae), Kunpimook Bhuwakul (Bam Bam), Kim Yugyeom

*Bonus* JB’s stage name is an abbreviation of his real name; Mark’s name is his birth name, as well as Jackson, Youngjae, and Yugyeom; Park Jin-Young has the same name as his producer, so he is thus called “Jr.” since he is the younger version; Bam Bam’s name comes from his mother who wanted him to be strong like the young baby in the cartoon “The Flintstones”.

Question 2: Mark (3), JB (0), Jackson (1), Youngjae (2), Yugyeom (1), Jr. (2), Bam Bam (3)

Question 3: False. Jackson is from British Hong Kong, China; Mark has lived in Paraguay, Brazil, San Francisco, California, USA; Bam Bam is from Thailand

Question 4: Dream Knight

*Bonus* Got

Question 5: Mark, JB, Jackson, Jr., Youngjae, Bam Bam, Yugyeom

Question 6: January 20, 2014

Question 7: Jr. and JB first made appearances on the K-drama series Dream High 2. Yugyeom, Bam Bam, Mark, and Jackson first made their appearances on the 4th episode of the YG survival reality show Who is Next: WIN.

Click me to find results too!

Hope you enjoyed the quiz! And I hope IGot7s are having a blast in the U.S. watching Got7 meet with fans AND showcase their talents!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you got all the answers right! If you did, you are true blue Got7 fan!

Got7 TV!

8 May

As you probably have guessed from my background and all of the Got7 articles, it is Got7 week on GN to honor Got7’s first tour in the U.S. Yesterday, San Fran enjoyed the presence of their favorite K-pop idols, Got7! In honor of San Fran’s visit, I created a fun read about Got7 as boyfriend idols.

Got7’s first U.S. tour

Which Got7 member is Boyfriend Material?

Got7 “A” for San Fran

Today, I am preparing for Chicago’s visit!

Today’s article we will be enjoying Got7 TV! Got7 is known as a lively bunch of young men. JYP has made these qualities more pronounced through online videos called Got7 TV. It has had TWO seasons. So, today, we’re just going to enjoy our favorite K-pop idols act like lovable dorks. 😛

Which Got7 Member Do YOU Think is Boyfriend Material or More like YOUR Style in Flirting?

5 May

Got7 blog 2

It is GOT7 week on GN. If you haven’t heard, mosey on over to this link —>Got7 WEEK

In honor of Got7’s first U.S. tour, I’ve decided to use this week to promote Got7 as much as I can. It is really amazing that Got7 decided to visit their western fans. Fans from the west really appreciate the hard work JYP and Jazzy Group U.S. did in organizing this event.

I told readers that I would be posting articles dealing with Got7 in honor of the week. This is the first one in preparation for San Fran’s event TOMORROW!

As San Franciscans prepare to be the first to enjoy an amazing performance by Got7, perhaps this article can pump you up!

So, hetero ladies and homo gents, which Got7 member is boyfriend material to YOU? If you are a hetero gent or a homo lady, which Got7 member is more YOUR style in flirting with girls?

This article is inspired from the Got7 music video “A”. For the music video “A”, Got7 released SEVEN story videos showing off their flirting styles towards one anonymous person. By watching these, you can determine which one you like best or which one suits you best.

In the video, JB is the cool leader of the Got7 group. His idea of “flirting” is showing off his amazing skills, and he has plenty of skills. To add, he tries to focus on his appearance, putting effort into looking nice for someone he is interested in. And he had quite an amazing wardrobe. I guess he couldn’t wait until he could meet her again. He is confident and direct.

As far as ideal types, JB claims that he has no particular preferences, but he prefers a someone that he can’t get out of his mind.

Mark is the oldest member, but the shyest. He is very mature, however. He is a man of few words. In the video, Mark shows off his charms in quiet ways. He may not say much, but Mark was very direct and simple when it came to asking the girl out in the video. He certainly wouldn’t let a girl sit around a man who doesn’t care about her feelings. He’d rather grab her out of that situation! You can say he’s a savior of sorts.

As far as ideal types, Mark says he likes someone that is unique-someone that makes him want to learn more about the person.

In the group and onstage, Jackson may seem pepped up with the most energy and confidence, but he’s quite mellow and shy around those he really likes. In this video, Jackson is taking a nice, intimate stroll with someone of interest. He’s laughing at this person, so the person must be funny to him. But as soon as Mark came, the antagonist of this whole story, he was determined to protect the person, even being a little bossy about it. You could tell he was very serious about protecting this person. In the end, however, he hesitated to put his arm around the person, showing his shy yet respectful side.

As far ideal types go, Jackson has said he likes healthy, athletic, sporty types.

Jr.’s video is a play on his name. In this video, he acts as a younger man who is interested in someone older (he called her “Nuna” which is how younger males address older females in Korea). Throughout the video, he is trying to hold back his laughter, possibly because of the fact that she is drunk, but he still takes care of her making sure she rests and sobers up. It can be dangerous for someone to be drunk and roaming the streets at night! Apparently, he picked her up as she was stumbling and led her to a bench. At the end, he is seen playing his video games and surrounded by youthful items (like the big kid Jr. is). But as soon as his phone rings, and I’m assuming that was the girl calling, he drops everything in a rush, putting on two different shoes! What a dork! But so lovable, right?

He said his ideal type is someone who smiles really big, as he believes you can see the real side of the person. He also likes somebody who loves their work because he believes you would see how a person loves with the way they love their work.

In Youngjae’s story, he plays the sweet, thoughtful boy-next-door. He takes a girl on a nice, quiet, small date to an ice cream shop. He thoughtfully remembers her favorite ice cream and gets it for her. Unfortunately, he eats more than she does. She didn’t seem to stay long enough to finish hers. :/ Too bad. Afterwards, he seems to get the chills from consuming too much ice cream while left alone in the shop! Poor Youngjae! He’s so sweet. I’m sure there are plenty of girls out in the world who appreciate his generosity and thoughtfulness.

He says his ideal type is anyone who has a certain charm he likes.

In Bam Bam’s story, he takes a nice, quiet stroll with a girl in the park. He is very attentive, immediately noticing when the girl’s shoes are not tied. But he’s not just attentive. He takes the initiative, bends down, and ties her shoes for her! What a gentlemen! Of course, Bam Bam doesn’t hold back from teasing her about her clumsiness. Even when her shoe came undone once again, he noticed right away. He was probably paying very close attention anyway.

As far as ideal types, he says he likes a pretty smile.

Yugyeom, the handsome maknae, has also landed a date with a woman who is older than he is (just like Jr. XD). In his video, he managed to take her out to a restaurant/sweet shop (?) for cake and drinks. They seem to be sharing food and drinks. He drank his drink and hers. But he fed her some of his cake, which shows he is not selfish or stingy. Eventually, he shyly asked her what her feelings were for him. In the end, it is revealed that he rehearsed that moment over and over again. He must have been nervous about asking her about her feelings. Though he came across direct and confident, he also revealed a shy, cute side as well.

His ideal type is someone who seems off in her own world, possibly carries a bit of an enigma about her, but someone who has layers. He wants someone who has something hidden within, someone intriguing.

I hope you enjoyed the videos for Got7 week! Check back throughout the week for more Got7!

If you want to watch more charm from the “Boyfriend Idols”, check out their their promotional movie Dream Knight.

Got7 Week on GN: Got7 Makes Their First U.S. Tour First Week of May 2015!

4 May

Such exciting news!

One of my FAVORITE K-pop groups, Got7, will finally make their tour in the U.S.A.! Woohoo! This is good news for Western fans who hardly get to enjoy their favorite artists in their own backyards.

If you don’t know who Got7 is, mosey on over to my article: Got7, the Korean “New Kids on the Block” + Jackson Wang in the Spotlight

Got7 will be touring San Francisco, CA first on Wednesday, May 6th 2015 at the Warfield, will fly eastward to Chicago, IL on Friday, May 8 and will meet with fans at the Riviera Theatre, then will fly back southwest to the Verizon Theatre in Dallas, Texas on Sunday, May 10, 2015!

VIP tickets were sold out within minutes for all three venues. Never underestimate the power of K-pop fans!

In honor of Got’s first U.S. tour, I’ve decided to dedicate this whole week to Got7 and its seven members!

Poll time!

Whichever Got7 member wins for each city, I will post their picture as my background the day of that city’s showcase! San Francisco, you have until midnight May 5, 2015, Chicago has until midnight May 7, 2015, and Dallas has until May, 9, 2015 CST!

Monday-Introduction to Got7

Tuesday-Which Got7 member do YOU think is boyfriend material? Inspired by “A”

WednesdayMidnight San Francisco favorite member tally, Got7 video specials

Thursday-Got7 TV

FridayMidnight Chicago favorite member tally, Got7 video specials

Saturday-Got7 7-Question Quiz

SundayMidnight Dallas favorite member tally, Got7 video specials

Look out for random pictures and articles about Got7!

got7 3

Drama Fever: Introduction + Hana Kimi/To the Beautiful You #dramafever

8 Apr

Introduction 

*You can skip the introduction if you don’t want to read all of this.*

Many of you might think that I am a bit of a Weeaboo, a Koreaboo, and a bit of a Sinophile. I understand that these people are not looked upon very kindly by the public. These people are considered those guilty of “cultural appropriation”. Basically, people look at them as individuals who “think” they are Asian, but are not. :/ To some people, my obsession over Korean entertainment, my personal critical reviews of other cultural art and perspectives, may seem offensive.

Sure, I love J-pop, K-pop, and some C-pop. I even watch dramas from many Asian countries. I do own two Chinese-style dresses and a Chinese-style modern top. I enjoy cosplay of my favorite characters from my favorite video game Kingdom Hearts. I hope to learn at least one Asian language in my life-time or visit an Asian country. I am fascinated by Japanese and Chinese history. I’m new to Korean history and more familiar with their modern pop culture.

Hallyu Wave

But this actually goes for any culture. I enjoy music and shows from France, New Zealand, Tanzania, Peru, Turkey, and many other countries. I am fascinated with Turkey and it’s Topkapi Palace. You can literally say…I LOVE THE WORLD. ❤

If you want my honest opinion, I am not racist. I am an African American who doesn’t think my culture is superior to another person’s. And I don’t get offended when people want to adapt a part of my culture. I actually feel flattered. I see culture as something universal, not something “owned” or “exclusive”, like I’m in some snobbish exclusive club. Cultures have and always will change. Women in many countries have adapted American styles of dress, like wearing jeans and skirts, using westernized mobile phone devices, and other westernized products. You can say these people are trying to be American, but some of these items make life more convenient for others. It does not offend me to see a Korean girl wearing a pair of jeans…It does not offend me to see a girl wearing hip-hop clothing…

But of course, other people will not see it my way.

I treat all entertainment as if they are all the same. I treat it all as if it came from the same country. I am a firm believer in cross-cultural fertilization.  I believe people are the same everywhere; no matter what culture, each person is their OWN individual. There are things that I like and dislike about all cultures, including my own, but I do not think one culture is superior to another. We all have faults…

So why am I saying all of this? Well, because I’m about to go on a looooonggg spill about some Asian dramas I’ve been watching. I don’t want to offend anyone if my remarks seem harsh, judgmental, or a bit blunt. I really have nothing negative to say, but I may say some things that these cultures may find inappropriate.

I love Asian entertainment, but I don’t know everything about Asia. I was born and raised a black American. I do not know the ins and outs of each culture. All I know are people, and people are various. I also know myself, and for the sake of this blog, that’s all I can be.

I used to be one of those uber-obsessed people. At one time, I even wanted to live in Asia. I used to look at Asia as a Utopia, a way for me to escape my weirdness in school, my feelings of being an outcast, and of not really fitting into my complete African American community very well. I was always open-minded, but constantly tormented for being different. Asia seemed like a place I could escape all of my troubles. It seemed like a place that would accept me. First off, it was on the other side of the Earth from where I lived. Second, there was a certain innocence and purity within the cultures that made me happy.

But sooner or later, as I became an adult, I actually met people who lived in my favorite Asian countries and learned that, again, people are people, where ever you go. There are mean people everywhere; there is no escaping that. And I learned that there are social rules and laws in Asian cultures that would not be ideal for me. But I met some really nice friends from other countries, too. Particularly in Korea, I met a friend that told me her brother was going to be drafted soon. My friendship with her taught me the most about Korea. I no longer see Asian countries as Utopias, but real places that REAL people live in.

Still, it would be fun to take a trip and visit some of my friends, eat foreign foods, and get lost in a new city within a new country… (to add, really learn a new language fluently).

I’m a little nervous about actually visiting Asian countries though. For starters, I like to feel like I can be myself. My friend (and other bloggers) have stressed the importance of manners in Asian countries. I have a bad feeling I will screw up and make the people around me hate me…Unless, someone is forgiving. Of course, going to a new country, you can’t completely be yourself. You have to consider the social etiquette of the land. This is very frustrating for me…and nerve-wrecking. I am not good at remembering things. I know I will forget something..

I am also afraid to share my interests in Asian entertainment and fashion. I don’t want the people there to think I’m making fun of them. I want to have something in common and I like what I like. Maybe that’s American of me? :/ I don’t want them to think I’m stereo-typing…

Anyway…

I will be watching many dramas from around the world for the next two months. Mostly, I’ll be watching Asian dramas and discussing them with my readers.

The Hana Kimi Adaptations

Last week, I became really sick with a fever. I could hardly get out of bed for two days. So, I was stuck at home. Being bored at home, I caught another kind of fever. This time it was a good fever. I got “drama fever”. That’s right. I became addicted to dramas.

I tapped into my Netflix and got whatever movies I could get. I also became addicted to Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dramas.

The latest dramas that caught my interest were the many adaptations of Hana Kimi. Hana Kimi (or Hanazakari no Kimitachi e) is a popular Japanese manga series. It was adapted into drama first by Taiwan, then by Japan twice, and then Korea.

hana kimi

Hana Kimi focuses on the story of a young American female (Ashiya Mizuki) who admires a high-jumping athlete (Sano Izumi) that she happens to spot on TV. Somehow, his jumping inspires her to want to meet him in person. She’s determined to see him high-jump. So, she signs herself up to the all-boys’ school her idol attends and pretends to be a boy. She somehow becomes her idol’s roommate, which greatly affects their relationship throughout the story. He’s not the easiest to live with…But eventually, she melts his cold exterior.

She’s not good at acting like a boy, and is considered a ditz with a cheerful personality (not uncommon in anime and manga series). This is why it was so easy for the school physician to notice right off that she was a girl. The physician becomes a good friend of the lead character, and shows a supportive role in helping her keep her secret. There are many others who discover her secret throughout. She’s not good at hiding her feelings, especially when she likes someone. She’s impulsive and easily angered by remarks made toward the people she cares about.

Along her journey as a boy, she meets some new friends. The first friend she becomes acquainted with is an extroverted soccer champion (Shuichi Nakatsu). He eventually starts to develop feelings for the lead girl, which leads to him questioning his sexuality (because she is disguised as a boy). He gets her adjusted to school and introduces her to some of his friends. He becomes a love rival throughout the story.

The school is divided by three dorms. Mizuki, the lead girl, is a part of Dorm 2. Many of her closest friends reside in the same Dormitory.

I happened to watch all of the adaptations. I didn’t watch in any particular order. I watched according to whatever series I found out about first. Though all were adaptations, of course, they were not all alike. Each story had something charming that maybe another story did not have. Some stories stayed more true to the manga than others.

Guidelines:

The genre of this series is romantic/comedy. I am very skeptical of the romantic genre when it comes to manga or dramas. For starters, I’m not a romantic person. I think it’s mushy and to watch it makes me want to puke. It’s very hard for me to get into a romantic story, and when I do, it’s hard to keep my interest. BUT what really turns me off about the romantic genre stories are the following things:

1) Love triangles-I really, really dislike love triangles, especially when it’s involving the main character. I get it. They are supposed to make the story interesting. But for me, all they do is confuse me and make me change my mind about a romantic situation. As someone who is deeply compassionate, I always side with the underdog lover in these “triangles”, and more often than not, that “underdog” is not the main love interest. There are very few stories that turn out the way I want them to. Often, I feel dissatisfied with romantic stories. This was my problem with Twilight…Love triangles do not suit my mentality.

This is especially so if the main love interest is a douche with a bunch of other girls crawling all over him, while the “nice person” or the humble person is finishing last. These kinds of triangles irk me.

I also have a problem with love interests who are unimportant to the overall story. It’s irksome when they outshine someone who is actually important to the development of the story (Ran vs Haibara from Detective Conan would be an example). When a rival character is more important to the story, the development between the main character and the love rival will be even more interesting.

There are only a few distinct ways I can accept a love triangle.

First, I can accept a love triangle if the love rival receives a more interesting love interest than the main character. And this rarely happens.

I can also accept a love triangle if the love rival is completely idiotic, with poorly developed feelings, and a shallow outlook. For instance, all of the love rivals in Ranma ½ were complete fools with mostly bad intentions. This made Ranma and Akane such a well-developed pair, even if they were rather predictable.

I can accept a douche love rival if his story is well-developed and/or his change is so drastic it affects the events in the story. Hana Yori Dango is an example.

My favorite romance story is Cardcaptor Sakura’s Sakura and Syaoran. No romantic story has been able to top it in my book. The manga had hardly any love triangles. But everything turned out unexpected in the end. I never thought the main character would receive the sullen, raggly, uncool  Syaoran as a lover.

Peach Girl also impressed upon me.

2) I dislike a boring, predictable relationship-I don’t like those stories where you already know who will be the love interest in the end. I don’t like when characters fall in love “at first sight”. I don’t like smooth betrothals that turn out peachy in the end (unless the two really hate each other at first). I don’t like when love is predictable. Even though in real life, a predictable kind of love is a beautiful thing, it is not really entertaining in a show.

I also dislike boring or uninteresting partners. If one of those love interests are boring, dull, or too cool, I’m bored. I like people that the audience would least expect to be the love interest.

I don’t hate beautiful/handsome people, but if they have no personality beyond good looks, I do not approve of it. It’s not enough to throw a love rival in there. That doesn’t make a RELATIONSHIP interesting, that makes a story more interesting. But if the love rival is not around, and the relationship seems less interesting than when the rival was around, I can’t enjoy it.

People say a person is entitled to like who they like, but this is a story. It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it or watch it. It doesn’t mean I won’t have preferences.

Unfortunately, Hana Kimi had many elements that irritated me. It had love triangles, so of course I sided with the underdog as usual. The main love interest was a cool, dull, douche…The exact types I dislike. The main romance story was predictable. The main relationship was boring to me and I found myself skipping all of the scenes that overdid their relationship.

But the story itself was interesting…

The thing that makes me a little iffy is the motivation. A girl, traveling all the way to a foreign country, for some complete stranger that she saw on television high-jumping….And she thinks she’s in love now? And this romance actually works? Despite the fact that she was trying to deceive him by lying and pretending to be a boy? What kind of relationship begins with deception? She’s basically a stalker fan, and rather than being sweet and endearing, it’s a little creepy and frightening that someone would even try this. Don’t try this at home, kids. The best part about dreaming about an idol is never knowing who they really are and keeping the dream alive. Trust me. Not every idol is going to turn out as receptive as Izumi Sano. In fact, most won’t, especially if you try to deceive them.

The Japanese versions do a better job in explaining away this obsession, but the other adaptations, especially the Taiwanese version, do not.

Anyway…

This article is a review of the adaptations I’ve watched.

*The Following Review May Contain Spoilers*

To the Beautiful You (Korean Version 2012)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (1)

This was the first one I watched. Being a fan of f(x), I wanted to watch Sulli act in this drama series. I was introduced to the Hana Kimi series through this drama.

Of all the adaptations, I felt this movie version was the most different from the original story. In many ways, the differences made it better, but in other ways, the differences made the story worse.

First, the story mostly focuses on the athletic Dorm 2 and hardly gives the other dorms any attention or development. Second, many characters that were supposed to be friends of the main character were omitted or combined with other characters. Third, many personalities and relationships were changed. Because this was the first one I watched, I didn’t realize how different it was from the original. But without knowing the original, it wasn’t hard to figure that something was missing…

The setting was ritzier than the other adaptations. The dining area showed wealth and the dorms actually looked up-scale. The dorm room Jae-Hee stays in has two beds. One has a winding staircase leading to almost another room. It’s a more advanced bunk-bed of sorts. The bathrooms even look bigger in the Korean version compared to the other adaptations. It was quite an elite-looking school.

Pros: The story was so engaging. I would say the Korean story was more entertaining than the others. There were serious and dramatic moments that made me want to know what was going to happen next. The Korean version was also a bit more realistic in presenting its school and dormitory than the other adaptations. Jae-Hee was required to bring transfer papers in order to enroll in the school. The other adaptations did not go into detail how the girls were able to enroll in the schools without transfer papers…The Korean version didn’t have the sense of exaggeration that the other versions had. This version was also more modern.

Goo Jae-Hee (Korea’s Ashiya Mizuki) is very cute and lovable. She was so cute that it was believable when random people would find out her identity and when random guys would fall in love with her.

She was careless, but not quite as dumb as some of the other girls in other adaptations (though she was still dumb). There was one scene, a dangerous scene, where she was caught in a car with a stranger. This girl had enough sense to notify someone by phone and was strong enough to fight for her life.

This version, out of all the other versions, focused the most on the romantic story.

I was also happy that f(x) songs were sprinkled throughout the show. F(x) are my baes. I was happy to see Sulli in her glorious lead moment.

Cons: They can stick Shinee’s Minho (Kang Tae-Joon) and f(x)’s Sulli (Jae-hee) in the same room. They can throw in little scenes with Minho taking off his shirt. They can try to over-emphasize the relationship between the two supposed love interests with random scenes of them falling on top of each other every chance they get…And I still did not think they belonged together. I tried my best to be team Minsul…and I just couldn’t hang.

First, of all the love interests in other adaptations, Tae-Joon was a complete butthole. Cha Eun-gyeol (played by Lee Hyun-woo), the supposed love rival, was the main character’s first friend. He was kind to the main character. He helped her feel welcome. When Tae-joon was acting like a jerk and making Jae-hee cry, who was there? Eun-gyeol was there. When Tae-joon left Jae-hee under the stars to run back to the city, who was there with Jae-hee? Eun-gyeol was there.

Eun-gyeol also struggled the most with his feelings, thinking he was gay, and really considering his feelings seriously. I was so impressed with him that moment he found the courage to admit that he loved Jae-hee (thinking she’s a boy), even risking his reputation, considering how homophobic some people can be. He said, “Girl or Guy, I love her”. I felt this character TRULY loved the main character from the inside. In my opinion, he was the strongest character in the series.

And yet, I feel like the lead girl just stomped all over his heart. Even when she gave him a chance, she rudely contacted Tae-Joon while on a date with him. I understand you don’t love him, but don’t agree to go on a date and then contact another man. That’s not even a friendly thing to do. I honestly lost all respect for this character after that. I felt that she was caught up in the glory of being around her idol, but it just didn’t feel like true love to me. It felt like an infatuation with an ideal dream…But not real.

To me, Tae-Joon only started to like her AFTER he found out she was a girl and after he found out that she was there for him. To me, he only loved the attention. Everything else sounded like BS. Eun-gyeol saw what was special about her from the very beginning.

The manga can try and pull that “he was just attracted to her femininity” crap when it comes to Shuichi Nakatsu. I don’t buy it in the Korean adaptation. I, in fact, think Tae-joon (Korea’s Izumi Sano) was just attracted to her because she was a girl and loved having the attention. But I did not think he had the same chemistry with the lead girl as Eun-gyeol.

For this reason, I did not like the main love story. They spent way too much time developing the love rival’s moments with the lead girl. That really prevented me from connecting with the main love story.

Another thing that was really distracting to me was the fact that there truly was nothing boyish about Jae-hee. She, in fact, never even tried to act like a boy. Aside from being super tall, unlike the other adaptations, and having a short hair cut, her personality was just too feminine. I’m surprised that people throughout the story couldn’t even figure it out. I feel that the director should’ve made sure that Sulli (the actress) tried to act more masculine. The Japanese and Taiwanese version recognized this a little more.

I suppose boyish girls are so rare in Korea, girls can get away with being a boy as long as they just dress like one…

And they didn’t even do a good job of developing a motivation for the lead girl. Her reasons for going to an all-boys’ school was even more suspicious than the others. They tried to say she had heard that Tae-joon stopped high-jumping because of an injury and that she just wanted to see him high-jump. But it was clear she was trying to persuade the boy to fall in love with her. Her intentions were really unclear throughout the whole show. I dislike a woman who is not direct with her feelings, especially when she uses deception to win someone over rather than being honest. It’s not fair to anyone and I just couldn’t support a relationship that was developed from that. It is annoying.

The final thing I disliked about this version was the fact that most of the main characters from the manga, some of my favorite characters, were completely omitted. Many of my least favorite characters were added, such as the lead girl’s “first love”. Remember I said I disliked love triangles? Well, I dislike love squares even more…

I disliked the fact that some characters that were considered gay in the manga were either changed or had poor, unhappy endings in the Korean version. I guess it just shows their conservatism.

Overall, this was one of my least favorite adaptations and not because it was a bad series. In fact, the series itself was probably told the best in this adaptation. I just hated the ending and how they changed the characters. I left feeling a little unsatisfied.  First, they pulled a Pretty in Pink on me when it came to Jae-Hee and Eun-gyeol.  Then, the ending failed to show the main character’s connection with the school like the other versions did. She solely seemed interested in Tae-Joon and showed hardly any development between other students. Thus, in the end, she didn’t feel like she belonged there. She just left with poor feelings and never even graduated with the other students. I didn’t feel her connection with the other cast members, so I wondered why they were even in the story.

Characters of mention:

Eun-gyeolIt’s hard to miss him. He’s lively, friendly, and active. He’s also handsome. His struggle with his feelings makes him an interesting character to look out for and really makes the story worth watching. I feel he transforms the most throughout the series, even changing his hair.

Director JangDespite the fact that she was never in the original story, I felt her presence held weight. To me, she almost seemed like a second mother to Tae-Joon. She’s his manager, and manages many sports affairs. She is a reflection of idol life in Korea.

Seol Ha-naA girl who begins as an aggressive pursuer of Tae-Joon’s, she seems a little annoying at first. But as the series progresses, she shows remarkable intelligence and strength. She’s definitely a character that is memorable.

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen Paradise (Japanese version 2007)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (2)

The Japanese version is pretty close to the manga, but many things were changed here, too. Many characters and events were omitted, but no personalities were changed. The Japanese version was more exaggerated and comical in the acting style. Most Japanese dramas are like this, especially if there are comical characters in the series.

The setting seemed to be in an old, rustic western style school. It was surrounded by gardens and statues reflecting a calm spirit surrounding the school. The dorms weren’t extremely big and the main character slept in a loft of sorts. Compared to the Korean version, it had more natural surroundings.

The classrooms are ridiculously large for a high school…

Shun Oguri plays in this drama as Sano Izumi…He usually plays “cool, handsome” roles. I remember him from the dramas Detective Conan and Boys Over Flowers.

Pros: I liked that the story actually developed the relationship between the main character and the other students. The cast is large in this series, and yet, each character had a life of their own. At first, I couldn’t see any character being developed in-depth because of the large cast. But I realized that was the lovable part about the Japanese adaptation. The characters were shallow, but they were fun and lively. Eventually, I began to see Mizuki (the main character) as a part of the school. She formed a close relationship with many of the characters, not just Izumi Sano and Shuichi Nakatsu. I liked that she eventually wanted to stay for more than just Sano. She grew to love all of the friends she’d made at the school. The strong bond the cast felt shined in the series, and it made the ending a tear-jerker.

I liked how supportive the school was in the end.

And who couldn’t like the scene where the school broke out as cheerleaders and began dancing to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”. 😄 Completely worth it.

Cons: There are very few cons for me. The thing that I felt was bittersweet was the relationship between Izumi Sano and Ashiya Mizuki. Again, there were moments where I just couldn’t ship him together with Mizuki. Nakatsu also interfered with my interest in this love story but not as bad as in the Korean version.

Both Nakatsu and Sano started off as jerks. Really, all the boys were a bit rowdy when Mizuki first came to the school. So, either one was fine with me.

Still, in the end, I hated the Nakatsu was the one hurt. He had the hardest time expressing his feelings. The difference is he found out she was a girl much sooner than the character in the Korean version.

The girl they tried to pin Nakatsu with (I guess so a rejection wouldn’t feel as bad with the audience) was dull and showed no chemistry with him, but at least a girl showed interest in him. Even in the special episode, she continued to give him chocolates and express her love. Poor Eun-gyeol in the Korean version got a girl who hadn’t seen him in years, which made for an awkward relationship that hardly developed.

The characters were a bit shallow and one-dimensional. Some characters were pointless. I would have liked some characters to be developed more, especially in Dorm 3.

There were also some pretty offensive things sprinkled without. I understand one scene was trying to put on an act, but the use of” black face” cloak in order to pretend to be a black person, along with disheveled Afros (they could have at least combed it), was just offensive.

But there was one scene where they actually had a real African American man named Bob.

And why does Japan always portray foreigners from America, especially White Americans, as having blonde hair? In the special episode, Mizuki’s foreign friend is seen sporting blonde hair. Basically, she’s supposed to be half Japanese and half White. But most mixed children still carry the dominant genes…

The actress looked like a Japanese girl with a wig on…

Overall, I enjoyed this version and would watch it again.

Characters of mention:

Namba Minami-They cast a very handsome man to play him. He is in fact one of the best looking characters. His affinity for women is one thing, but the fact that he has a strong serious side and surprisingly protects the main character and his fellow dorm mates like a big brother throughout the series makes him a character worth mentioning.

Kayashima Taiki-The man who can see spirits and detect auras. Pay attention to him. He knows a lot more than he lets on.

Sekime Kyogo-He seems like a quiet presence, but his presence is also powerful. In this drama, he was actually Mizuki’s first REAL friend. While the other dorm members were going crazy trying to recruit her to their dorm activities, or teasing her and treating her as insignificant, Sekime calmly listened to her woes and introduced her to what the school had to offer. She, in fact, found out what dorm Sano was in through him. Throughout the series, he also showed himself to be a supportive friend of Sano’s.

Nakao Senri-Probably the only completely openly gay character in this adaptation. His feelings for Namba Minami motivate his character. At first, he was the main character’s rival because he saw her as a threat to his reputation as the school “idol” (since he considers himself cute and adorable). But there was one moment in the series where he and Mizuki really bonded and connected. I really enjoyed that scene.

Dean Kitahama-A scary presence in the story. Though his moment was brief, he left an impression on my mind. His anger with what happened in his past really made me interested in him as a character. He isn’t initially likable and misunderstood.

Principal Tsubaki-She was never really a character in the original manga, but she should have been. I noticed one thing about all of these adaptations…We never met the principal of these schools. Isn’t that strange? Well, colleges don’t really have principals, so the Taiwanese version is excused.

Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (Taiwanese Version 2006)

hana kimi taiwan

Of all the adaptations, this was probably the most comical (rather than exaggerated silliness). I felt that this version reflected the manga better than the Korean version. Well, it was the first adaptation. But there were differences from the manga as well.

First off, this version did not take place in high school but in college. Most of the students were 19 years old and older. Basically, they’re all adults.

Second, this adaptation also focused mainly on Dorm 2.

Despite the fact that all of the characters are older, they actually act much younger than those in the other adaptations.

The setting is just like any normal college. Each dorm has a bunk bed and a bathroom. The rooms are very small. It is implied that the school is on a strict budget. Nan makes it clear that the food is not too tasty and that the students have to shower early because the hot water turns off at a certain time.

Pros: Ella Chen was the perfect girl to be cast as the lead female character. She did well in portraying the ditzy character while still maintaining a “boyishness”. Really, she actually looked like a boy. Ella Chen is from the girl group S.H.E. and she is known for her androgynous looks. It’s not surprising she was given this role. I was really satisfied with her portrayal and felt that she conveyed the strongest personality of all the girls cast for the lead role.

What kills me is that almost everyone in this version can almost guess she’s a girl more than in the other adaptations, but she looks the most like a boy than the other girls! Oh, the irony. If she wasn’t such a twat, I would’ve never guessed she was a girl.

While in this role, Lu Rui Xi was portrayed as an energetic, but impulsive girl. That was handled well in this adaptation. She was a little feisty in this role, but didn’t know how to pick and choose her battles well. She had the second greatest personality in this series (next to Xiu Yi).

I really enjoyed all of the characters in this show. They didn’t really add every character from the manga, but they did put in the most important characters. I felt the lead girl developed a strong relationship with her fellow dorm members.

Jin Xiu Yi provided a lot of color to the story and made it extra enjoyable.

What I liked most about the story was the fact that Jin Xiu Yi was treated with better dignity than the other love rivals. Sure, he was in love with Rui Xi. But, of course, we knew she was not interested in him. In fact, she seemed rather annoyed by him. I’m glad they found him an even better love interest, one that made his relationship even better than the main love story. I would really like a separate story regarding Xiu Yi and his love interest.

However, Taiwan did the best of all the adaptations in developing the main love story. I really liked the sensible and perceptive Zuo Yi Quan (Izumi Sano). He wasn’t really a jerk, he was just quiet and to himself. He was a bit of a nerd who liked to read. And his tattoo on his right arm was just everything. ❤ He wasn’t arrogantly jealous like Tae-joon who really didn’t care about Eun-gyeol’s feelings. Quan was more perceptive and helpful.

Cons: The ending was bittersweet. There really isn’t anything I dislike about this version, but I wish it had ended a little different. It really left a cliff-hanger. Now, I want to see more. 😄

Though I liked Ella Chen’s portrayal of the main character and felt she acted the most like the manga character, that is just it. She was really annoying in the manga. So, she was really annoying in this adaptation. She really had little clue how to act like a boy and play off the fact that she liked Quan. She also didn’t know how to pick and choose her battles carefully, so she wound up in situations she couldn’t even fight off. And who was the first person she screamed annoyingly for when she got herself in stupid situations? Quan.

I also wish Xiu Yi’s feelings had been taken seriously, but in the end, it all worked out.

I also want to point out that there were quite a few holes in the story and some scenes were just too forced or not explained. For instance, there was one scene in episode 6 where the main character is caught in a situation with a stranger and so must flee for her life. Of course, Quan, being Mr. Loverboy, saves her. He tries to carry her back home, but loses his footing. They end up isolated from others, far away from home, for hours, and the main character develops an illness. Now, by this time, all of the characters have shown that they have cell phones. Instead of using his cell phone or Riu Xi’s, he calls “Help!” over and over again. Not once did he look in his pocket to see if he had his cell phone or look in her pocket to see if she had hers. And okay, say he forgot his phone and maybe she did, too. Why wasn’t that explained? To me, it felt that the scene was put in there to build upon the romance between Quan and Rui Xi, but it was constructed poorly. It was confusing because clearly they both had cell phones…Therefore, it just didn’t feel natural. Maybe Quan wanted to get lost with her, but if he really cared about her, wouldn’t he want her to get home so she can get better? And maybe there was no signal…But these are guesses. It should have been explained.

To add, Xi Yi has a cell phone. While he was sitting at the house, waiting and worrying, why didn’t he call Rui Xi to see where she was? Why did no one suggest to call the missing teens by cell phone? They thought about calling the police but no one thought to call Quan or Rui Xi? It was simply unbelievable.

Just like it was unbelievable that no one went through Rui Xi’s school files. How was she able to enroll in the school? Who helped her forge papers and create a new identity? This was also not explained in the Japanese version.

But overall, the characters were entertaining and everyone lived happily ever after in the end. So what can I say, this version was my favorite. 😉 The story itself was over-comical, but it lifted my spirits.

Characters of Mention:

Lu Rui Xi-She was honestly a girl with a lot of personality. It is hard to forget her. Of all the girls, she showed the strongest individuality and made me fall in love with her. She wasn’t just a cute and pretty face. She was never sober and depressing. And unlike the other girls, she was the most honest with her intentions. They didn’t come up with some lame excuse for her. On the flip side, that also means her intentions were not pure. 😄

Zuo Yi Quan-A hot body with a tattoo is one thing, but intelligence, practicality, and sensibility are whipped cream, sprinkles, with a cherry on top.

Jin Xiu Yi-Charming, lovable, and also with a big personality, he was bound to be a favorite of mine. This character comes across energetic and brave, but we also see moments where he is sensitive, caring, and supportive. I also admired his courage when he came out as “gay” (though not really). Watching him in action is very entertaining. He’s also handsome and has a sexy voice.

Mei Tian-Long-haired and sexy, this man is gay and proud. I’m very happy they did not try to change him. He wasn’t stereo-typically gay either. He is handsome, smart, and knows his craft. He was also a good guardian for the main character and got her out of many sticky situations. His portrayal was very interesting.

Da Shu-The man who can see spirits. He is really cute. I’m surprised no one pointed out how cute he was. He was not considered for the school pageant and I kept thinking…Man, he would look good in a dress.

Julia-Rui Xi’s feisty American friend. She is no stereotype. She is part Chinese and speaks fluent Chinese but also speaks English. In fact, she speaks in English often throughout her time in Taiwan. Of all the adaptations, this was the only one that developed Julia as a character. I like her voice.

Shen Le-Initially an irritating butthole who reveals more to him than expected.

Yang Yang-Of all the adaptations of Senri Nakao, he is the perfect depiction of cute. The other guys in other adaptations believed they were cute, but umm…No. This guy is really cute. He’s quite sweet, but has a vindictive side to him.

Wu Wan Juan-A sports journalist who focuses on Quan’s success as a high jumper. She wrote under the pen name “KK” and is actually where the lead character got all of her information. She has an interesting but pretty face. Despite her eagerness to get the scoop, she revealed a moral side.

Yuan Qiu Ye-A mysterious and yet strange photographer. He is quite perceptive and talented. He fascinates me.

Wang Tian Si-Leader of Dormitory 1, he seems mostly like a meat-head character, but he is a character who fights fairly and takes responsibility. I can honestly say I respect him.

Man, there are so many characters that I loved in this adaptation.

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen Paradise (Japanese version 2011)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (1)

So Japan decided it would be a good idea to remake Hana Kimi for a modern audience.  But the only thing more modern about this version was the cast and setting. For 2011, it wasn’t over-emphasized with new technology, which was surprising. I didn’t understand why this new version was even made.

But since it was…I gave it a try.

This version was similar to the original, though not as exaggerated and more dramatic.

Someone decided that an Akb48 member should be cast as the lead. That proved interesting.

The setting was just like the original: An old, western-style school with old dormitories. Each dormitory has two beds and a loft of sorts. The difference between this version and the original is that the school was even more worn-down and falling apart. Literally. The plumbing was screwed, students were falling through the floor, and it needed a paint job badly. Still, the students love the school. I’m not sure if the school improved, but apparently the students continued to stay there, despite its flaws.

Pros: Ashiya Mizuki’s role was less annoying than the others. Maybe because she just couldn’t get away with acting dumb like the other girls in other adaptations. With the other girls, it felt that their selfish actions were handled too delicately (I mean a girl sneaks in a school to meet her idol, deceives everyone, and tosses feelings aside for her own selfish feelings…for a guy she hardly knows? And hardly recognizes the dangers? Unbelievable). But in this version, much sooner than the others, she recognized when it was time for her to take her leave more than once. And really, it made her character a little more tolerable (I really despise the ditzy female characters in anime, but especially when she gets away with everything).

Unlike the other girls, she actually met this guy before and had a decent conversation with him. She actually formed a friendship prior to the story. It wasn’t too unbelievable when she wanted to meet him again.

I also liked how well she connected with the rest of the cast, which was just like the original version. They didn’t take that away from the story like the Korean version did.

All of the characters were just as lively and colorful as in the original, and many were better interpretations of the characters.

Though this was 2011, it had a timeless, classic feel that I appreciated.

Cons: This version did a very poor job of developing the relationship between Ashiya Mizaki and Sano Izumi. I thought the Korean version was bad. This one beat the Korean version as having the least developed romance of all the adaptations. And the Korean version wasn’t even poorly developed, just not as developed as the friendship. At least in the Korean version Tae-Joon made many efforts to express his interest in the main character. Sano Izumi never expressed any sort of interest whatsoever besides him yelling at her out of jealousy or anger. He never bought her anything. He never even kissed her properly. There were hardly any romantic moments between them. Most of the times, he made the lead character sad. But oh no. She’ll put up with anything. She’s a martyr. She’s humble and submissive. Somehow, some way, she can just tell that his feelings are sincere (though he never makes clear these “imaginary feelings”). Whenever he gets mad at her, she likes to blame herself because she seems to think his feelings matter more than her own.

Shuichi Nakatsu hit it on the nail many times. Their feelings were TOO reserved. So reserved, in fact, I felt she had an abuse syndrome of some sort. The guy was nothing but mean to her. He never supported her at all. All she did was support him. It just didn’t even feel worth it to me. It felt dull.

And here she has a man, Nakatsu, who is willing to make her happy. She has a man beside her who cries when she cries and laughs when she laughs. And yet, she falls in love with Mr. Reserved and Mr. Shallow. And I know a girl can’t help her feelings, but isn’t she an example of why so many girls end up heart-broken and deceived? Because they blindly go after men that are not good for them, that harm them emotionally. This is another case of the “nice guy finishing last”. Looking at this story, I believe the saying is true. She was in love with a bad boy, a mean guy, the guy she couldn’t have, the idol that all the girls wanted, the complicated one. Not the guy who was determined to protect her, oh no. How dumb can she be?

Still, it didn’t make it any better that Nakatsu never received a proper love interest. I think the original girl that dated him was cute but dull. Nakatsu has such a large personality. He needs someone who makes things more interesting, not someone who dries him up.

Speaking of Nakatsu, I felt this guy received way too much air-time. I mean, he was in every scene. He almost seemed more important than Sano Izumi. He also carried strong leadership abilities…There are hints that these abilities led him to being a part of the “Sakura Committee”. He was always the one motivating everyone and trying to get everyone to smile. And who did that for him? No one. But at least the main character recognized her selfishness, unlike in the other versions.

Another thing that possibly contributed to a poor development of the main love story was the lack of time. In the beginning, everything seemed rushed. The main character’s connection with the school happened fast. Nakatsu’s confession occurred too soon. But unfortunately, Sano and Ashiya’s relationship didn’t happen fast enough. This could be because there were only 11 episodes. Still, it made the story a bit bland and superficial. I couldn’t connect with this version as well as the others, though I still teared up at the end (more than I can say about the Korean version).

What ultimately disturbed me was how they brought back ONE cast member from the old series from Hibari 4. I was happy to see her, but she seemed out of place in a sea of new faces. I placed her with the old cast. Her chemistry with them was so strong; I couldn’t understand why she was even put in this version.

Characters of Mention:

Nakatsu: His energetic personality shines in any version, but in this version, he had an even stronger presence. His leadership abilities were made evident in this adaptation.

Namba-Sempai-As dormitory leader, he always catches my attention in the Japanese adaptations. Even when unexpected things are thrown his way, he keeps a cool head and looks over the dorm like a big brother.

Taiki Kayashima-He’s always interesting, but in this version of the adaptation he was more than just a weirdo. He was the voice of reason and wisdom. He gave many of the characters advice almost like an adult figure. His abilities to see spirits and read the auras of people had more of a purpose in this adaptation and I’m glad they made him more useful. He took the place of Dr. Hokuto Umeda in many instances, who often usually gave the main character advice in other adaptations.

Nakao Senri-Much cuter than usual…In fact, he could also pass for a girl. He was just as short as the main character, so she had no need to feel awkward in that regard. He had striking dimples that made him noticeable.

Kyogo Sekime-He was more than just a friend in this version. He was someone with his own trials and challenges as well as victories. He was also one of the only people Sano Izumi actually smiled at. He hardly smiled at Ashiya Mizuki.

Hanayashiki Hibari-Guess who is back to reprise her role as St. Blossom’s fierce leader? Yes, the same actress from the 2007 version is playing this role, too!

Kishinosato Juri-A delicate flower, a graceful presence, but a vindictive heart. Very complex.

Watanabe Ikkei –I was wondering who cooked the food for all the students. This was the only version that developed the chef as a character.

Itsuki Sakura-One of the headmistresses of the school. She’s a strange woman. Really, really strange. Somehow, though, she sees the potential of her students.

So that’s my spin on the many adaptations based on the Hana Kimi manga series! Have any of you readers watched? If you have, tell me your favorite drama or moments? What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

My Review of f(x) @ SMTown IV in Taiwan: I Miss f(x) – #IMISSFX

21 Mar

SMTOWN IV

This isn’t one of my informational articles. This isn’t an article that is truly objective at all. This isn’t a persuasive piece. This is simply me expressing a strong feeling and/or desire of mine.

SMTown IV Tour has recently made its way to Taiwan.

SMTown Live

I’ve been roaming online looking at all of the amazing pictures. Of course, I was searching for f(x). If you readers don’t know about f(x) (and my obsession with this group), take a detour:

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

You should have seen the wide grin that spread on my face when pictures of four members, all with busy schedules, managed to show up on stage and perform a set of songs from their albums:  “Jet”, “Vacance”, “Hot Summer”, “Rum Pum Pum Pum”, and “Red Light”. Amber, one of those members, also performed her solo song “Shake That Brass” and this time with SNSD (Girls’ Generation)’s Taeyeon.

Looking at my favorite K-pop group idols on that stage, I had a bittersweet moment. It was such a happy time, and yet, I could feel that it wasn’t going to last. It was over as quick as it had begun. f(x) was on the same stage for the first time in months, and then, afterwards, back to their usual separate schedules.

And that’s when reality set in. And my feelings… I just felt something. Guess what? I miss f(x). And four is just not enough. I MISS ALL FIVE MEMBERS.

The thing that really gets me is the fact that I just became a true blue fan of f(x) February 2014 (though I’ve been knowing about them since 2011). Because I’ve just become a fan, I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to know the girls as much as I would’ve liked.

My dream is to one day either see f(x) live in concert or BoA live in concert.

I have no control of circumstances. Things always change, and the ladies in f(x) are no exception. I’m in my 20s and I understand that, as adults, we all have choices. I understand that Sulli had to go on hiatus. I do. But last year was my first time experiencing an f(x) comeback. Those few weeks of anticipation meant so much to me. f(x)’s music has gotten me through rough times. Their music has cheered me up when I was down and even mellowed me out when I was hyped up. f(x) got me interested in Korean music, dramas, and ultimately, Korean culture.

With all of that being said, I REALLY am hoping for an f(x) comeback with ALL FIVE MEMBERS this year. Even if it’s the last one ever, I really do hope that I at least get one more chance to enjoy the true full-out f(x) experience.

Last year, I really fell in love with this group. Anyone who is into K-pop knows what I’m talking about. In fact, most of you fans are probably experiencing that “group idol comeback” bliss right now.

I hold on to that little hope of seeing them again. Seeing them on stage gives me hope.

There are two things that could stand in the way:

1) Fans, particularly Korean Netizens, Regarding Sulli

Last year, fans made things so difficult for Sulli she had to step away from the limelight. When Sulli went on hiatus, the comments and malicious rumors intensified. Even now, people will still have something crazy to say. As I said last year, her hiatus has less to do with SM and her boyfriend, and more to do with the way fans reacted to the situation of her dating a man who is older than her. Really, at the end of it all, the fans are the profits and they are the reason SM makes decisions the way they do. I worry that fans will tear the group apart. They will drive Sulli away and it will leave a sour patch in the f(x) group.

I was so happy when I saw Sulli with Luna at the Opening of the SM COEX Artium. I was extremely happy when I heard Sulli attended one of Amber’s performances at Inkigayo. And I was happy that Sulli appeared in High Cut magazine looking stunning.

f(x) Sulli and Luna

Sulli visits Amber

sulli high cut

I feel like this group has so much potential. I’d hate to see their gifts go to waste because of ridiculous scandals and negativity.

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

2) Krystal’s sister is out of SNSD (Girls’ Generation). What’s next for Krystal?

Krystal and Jessica were both asked to join SM at the same time. Jessica was older, so she was trained much sooner. With Krystal and Jessica working under the same label, the sisters were closer and had an easier time working on projects together. With Jessica out of SM, and in such a swift way, would Krystal want to stay under this label?

The sisters, despite being related, have their own individual careers to worry about. Krystal has grown and developed herself as an individual outside of Jessica’s shadow. BUT she may not feel the same toward the label after what happened to her sister. I’m a little worried that Krystal will try to join her sister and leave the group.

I really, really hope that Krystal doesn’t leave too soon. 😦

I feel like I get involved in fandoms at all the worst times. :/ Back when the Spice Girls were popular, the moment I got into them, Geri left a few months after I became a fan. I became a huge fan of Avril Lavigne AFTER she toured my hometown. 😦 I almost won tickets to go see New Kids on the Block in my city. Too bad I didn’t learn about them until after the drawing…My tickets went to someone else.

Maybe I carry a shadow around me. Whenever I promote a group or artist, whenever I start to like something, it seems like I can never fully enjoy it.

I hope that this year will be a great year of K-pop for me. I really miss f(x). I want to see them on stage again, happy, showing off their skills, and giving us their “surprise” comebacks once more.

That’s all I wanted to say. I’m getting a bit sentimental here. 😥

 

#LastBrass Amber’s Final Stages For Shake That Brass-So Which Vocalist Was YOUR Favorite?

14 Mar

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Amber is the charming “tomboy” of the f(x) group.

To learn more about f(x): f(x), the Korean Spice Girls + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

Back in February, f(x)’s Amber released her first solo music video “Shake That Brass” featuring Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon. Soon after, Amber dropped her first solo album Beautiful. Amber has been getting a lot of attention for the music video as well as the album.

Shake That Brass MV-Unique in Kpop

Snap! Crackle! Pop! Amber’s Solo Album Drops

Amber’s Beautiful Album Review

The album showcased Amber’s “hidden” vocal abilities, as well as revealing personal sides to Amber’s personality, something fans never got the fullest extent of in her quintet group, f(x).

To see more of her talents: Just How Talented is f(x)’s Amber Liu?

The music video for “Shake That Brass” was known for it’s cameo appearances from other K-pop idols, revealing Amber’s social networking skills and popularity.

For the last three weeks, Amber has been performing “Shake That Brass” on several Korean music shows. Each stage has been a little different from the other. Though Amber featured with Taeyeon on the original track, she featured with other artists from SM Entertainment, YMC Entertainment, and Woollim Entertainment on stage.

So my question for you K-pop lovers is which feature did you like best?

This is not a question just to make any of the artists feel bad. All of the ladies who featured with Amber were amazingly talented, but they each had their own charm. I’m curious to know which performance impressed upon viewers the most, and I also want to know people’s opinions about each performance. Maybe you liked them all. Or maybe there was another artist that didn’t feature that you would have liked to see perform. Whatever it is, I want to know people’s opinions.

1) Amber featuring Girls’ Generation (SNSD)’s Taeyeon

Taeyeon, of all the performers, carried the most confidence. It was pretty obvious that she was used to performing. She has an amazing voice that was well-suited to the song. Amber personally asked Taeyeon to feature in the song.

Taeyeon struck that balance between shining in the spotlight and supporting Amber. In her performance, she didn’t take over the music video, but when her part came, she made sure it was her best. She carried a hint of elegance about her, but her soft, melodious voice added a lovable charm that fit well with the song. She had a queen-like presence in the video.

During promotions, Taeyeon only featured in the video. But after promotions, at SM Town Taiwan, Taeyeon happened to perform the song with amber for the first time on stage.

2) Amber featuring Red Velvet’s Wendy

Rookie Wendy featured with Amber and did pretty well! This is probably Wendy’s first feature. As Amber’s junior, she obviously did well not to outshine Amber. Wendy has a very strong voice. What I appreciated about this performance was the fact that Wendy suited the hip-hop imagery better than the other features. Even her outfit fit well with the theme. Her use of caps made her blend in well with Amber as well. Amber dresses comfortably,  so Wendy adding a bit of “tomboy” in her look made it perfect.

As someone who carries a young and fresh vibe, this kind of song invites rookie artists like Wendy. I applaud her courage. She stood in for one of the most popular idols in K-pop, Taeyeon. She challenged herself, hitting those notes within the song. She also seems to carry a little sass about her, giving it her own unique charm. The cherry on top is that she speaks fluent English…

3) Amber featuring f(x)’s Luna

Luna was the third person to feature on Amber’s stage. It’s clear to see from the number of performances with Amber that Luna was in demand by fans. This is natural, considering Luna is from Amber’s group. Luna felt the most natural. Luna was more in sync with Amber, and it was clear to tell they have performed together before. Luna’s bubbly and upbeat personality fit well with the song. Of course, Luna is a vocalist. Her vocals suited the song well.

At the end of these performances, there are interesting interactions between Luna and Amber. Their close relationship is clearly obvious. To add, Luna’s outfits are just as quirky as Amber’s, which added that f(x) flair.

Though Amber said she really wanted to work with new people this time, for f(x) fans, it was a dream come true to at least see two members from the group together on the same stage. f(x) comes out with ONE comeback a year after all.

Amber featuring Ailee

This was the one and only performance Amber had with Ailee, and yet it was a powerful one. Ailee made the song her own rather than following the “standard”. Ailee is known as the “Beyonce of Korea”, and her vocals were clearly shown in this performance.

To add, her chemistry with Amber was noticeable. She and Amber are best friends, according to Amber. Rather than seeming like Ailee was featuring in the performance, it almost seemed like a fun duo between friends. This performance is so impressive, it’s hard not to watch it more than once. Amber and Ailee seemed really excited to be performing together, and this performance seemed like it was the most fun.

Ailee’s asset is also the fact that she speaks English very well.

Amber featuring Lovelyz’s Kei

Kei is even more of a rookie than Wendy, but she took up the challenge. Kei is probably more similar to Taeyeon as far as performances. Lovelyz sort of reminds me of SNSD. They both give off an element of “sweet charm”. The difference is that Kei is even more adorable! Her performance with Amber was charming as well as entertaining. That ending bit though! So charismatic! And very energetic! Kei brings so much energy to this performance.

Kei gives it her all with her vocals. Kei helped in providing the entertainment for our final “Last Brass” week. She gave her cute, “lovely” addition to it. It really suited the upbeat song well. She felt like the perfect girl to attract a young and lively crowd.

So now that the promotion weeks are coming to a close (hu hu 😥  ), I just have to ask: Which did you like? Give me reasons for why you liked that stage! Who would you have LIKED to see Amber perform with? I’ve heard a lot of people say f(x)’s Krystal…

f(x)’s Amber Opens Up About Herself on Mnet’s 4Gaji Show (4 Things Show, Naked 4 Show) , Season 2: Episode 7

26 Feb

Amber’s appearance on Mnet’s 4Gaji has been circling everywhere across the internet. Many K-poppers get the chance to get inside the mind and heart of K-pop star Amber of f(x). Amber’s album just dropped more than a week ago, and already she has received attention for her “hidden” vocal abilities, her popularity within the music video “Shake That Brass”, and her very personal and intimate feelings in the song “Beautiful”. To promote the album, Amber has been performing on Korean music programs, has become involved in fan signing, and has allowed shows like After School Club and 4Gaji to understand the meaning behind her album even more.

Ailee, Got7’s Jackson, Miss A’s Min, Crayon Pop’s Ellin and Eric Nam, some of Amber’s closest friends, also reveal hidden secrets about the artist on the 4gaji show. Amber also shows us her new Music Video for her song “Beautiful”.

Check out the episode below if you missed it February 24!

http://www.ondemandkorea.com/4gaji-show-season2-e07.html?lang=en

http://mwave.interest.me/mnettv/videodetail.m?searchVideoDetailVO.clip_id=166710

Check out other articles about f(x) and Amber:

Just How Talented is Amber Liu?

Amber’s Music Video “Shake That Brass” is Unique for a Kpop Idol

Amber Beautiful Review

f(x), the Korean Spice Girls + Amber Liu In the Spotlight

GN’s f(x) AMBER 엠버 #Beautiful Album Review ( #ShakeThatBrass )

14 Feb

With two months of tumultuous drama, f(x) Amber’s solo debut crept up on me! Before I know it, I hear that Amber’s ALBUM has dropped! I had heard that Amber’s solo was due to come out in February, but so much had happened, I was taken off guard. Anyway, I immediately purchased the album as soon as it dropped.

I suppose it’s a good thing I was so busy. Last year, when I was anticipating f(x)’s Red Light comeback, I was so anxious and excited, I couldn’t stand waiting.

This time, it showed up at the right time, right when I needed a smile on my face.

If you don’t know who f(x) is, read my article f(x), the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x)’s Amber is considered the “charming” tomboy of the f(x) group. She debuted with her group in 2009 and has garnered much attention since then.

Amber is one of the few females in K-pop who presents a “boyish”, or rather comfortable, image. Within f(x), she already stands out. But among other female K-pop idols, she is also very unique. This made her popular first. What added to this imagery, was her likable personality. Amber is known as a “social butterfly” in K-pop. Who DOESN’T know Amber? She knows everybody! She has featured in others’ music videos often, collaborated with several artists, is always asked to MC for shows, and everyone calls her “friend”. She is liked among her fellow idols, but also among those idols’ fans.

Amber has “layers” to her personality, and that makes her interesting. She’s funny, she’s always showing herself having fun, and she has the “heart of a teenage girl”, as one Korean radio station put it. In other words, she’s very youthful and high-spirited. She’s straightforward and down-to-earth, but has also shown herself to be understanding and open-minded. Although Amber has a tomboyish side (where she likes basketball, skateboarding, taekwondo, and wears baggy clothing), she has also shown more feminine sides to herself (where she enjoys cute doggies and stuffed animals, enjoys shopping, and doesn’t mind wearing heels here and there). All of these qualities make Amber interesting to people.

Amber has a “humble” air about her. She’s an idol, but acts like a fan. She’s a queen, but mingles with commoners. She’s a senior, but makes friends with rookie idols. She has many talents, but hides them quietly. K-poppers can only fall in love with her.

Thus, it was no surprise that Amber was the first f(x) member to go solo…

Well, it may have been shocking for some…

Amber is known as the “rapper” of the f(x) group. Many people only knew Amber as a rapper. Some other f(x) members, such as Luna and Krystal, were better known for their vocal and dancing abilities. To add, Amber never had the perfect female idol “look” or image. To add even more to that, Amber is from the USA. Her accent and language skills are not as fluent as some of the other members. Some people assumed Luna or Krystal would be the first to debut for these reasons.

So, there are some who don’t know what to expect from this album. I’ll bet people’s expectations are very low, which will be good. Why is this good? Because it will be fun to see the surprised look on many K-poppers’ faces when they actually hear this album.

The title of the album is Beautiful, which is the name of the first track on the album. It suits the album. I’ll explain why later…

First, like I do with every review, I want to review the debut as a whole. I usually start with the teaser images and overall packaging…Especially when it comes to f(x) and their members…

If you want to read reviews about f(x)’s other albums, click the links below:

Electric Shock Review

Pink Tape Review

Red Light Review

As you all may know (or not), f(x) is a group from “powerhouse” label SM Entertainment that pulled me into the Korean Wave officially. I’d always been interested in BoA since 2003, but I purchased more of her Japanese material than I did her Korean material (though I enjoyed both). I’d heard about f(x) on one of BoA’s fan websites. I didn’t initially take off with them…At first, I just couldn’t understand the big deal with the K-pop group craze. But then…

Amber. Yes. I was doing an article about androgynous fashion. I was super interested in that sort of look. Amber was one of the first women to pop up on google when I was looking up artists who embrace the style. My interest in her grew. Later, I found out she was from the USA, the same country I’m from. Her English made it easy for me to relate to her. Soon, I’d given many of f(x)’s songs a chance. I heard some good stuff.

f(x) is an unconventional group. In other words, you never know what to expect from them. I can honestly tell you to expect the unexpected when it comes to their solo debuts as well.

I explained more here —> Why I chose f(x)

So, yes, it seems that I might be a little bias in this article. But I just want to be honest: I will give it what I think it deserves. I may be a fan of f(x), but as most of my readers know, it doesn’t mean I thought everything f(x) came out with was perfect. You may have gathered that if you read the reviews above…

With all of that aside…

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Amber Liu solo

Amber Liu solo debut

fx amber beautiful

There is only one way of putting this debut: It’s very “Amber”. If you know Amber, she is lively, bold, and colorful. She presents herself confidently, even when she is not really feeling that way. The teaser images for Amber show Amber’s unique and humorous personality. She is seen wearing her usual comfortable clothing and everything is absolutely colorful. Amber’s favorite color is red, and so we see a lot of that color in the photos. Amber reveals her striking charisma throughout the debut.

Most people have seen the “Shake That Brass” MV that accompanies the album and promotes Amber’s debut.The MV has received a lot of attention for reflecting Amber’s personality to a “T”. Amber shows all of her interests: She plays basketball in the MV and hangs out with all of her friends. There is even a reference for her affectionate nickname given by fans, Llama.

Amber has stated in her mini biography: “Creating a stage where there are no restrictions is my dream. And it doesn’t even have to be on a real stage, a street is fine. Just as long as it’s a place where everyone can join in and have fun!” In this MV, Amber seems to be living out her dreams. The song and overall style of the MV is without the normal K-pop restrictions. Everyone seems to be having genuine fun. The most genuine person is Amber herself.

Read more about the MV here: Amber #ShakeThatBrass MV

In interviews, Amber revealed the freedom she had when dealing with this album. She personally asked SM for this solo debut. She personally requested Taeyeon to feature in the song “Shake That Brass”. She also wrote several songs for the album. So, this debut is pretty much ALL AMBER.

http://www.allkpop.com/article/2015/02/amber-explains-how-she-got-taeyeon-to-feature-in-shake-that-brass

The MV included all of her friends, and all of those friends were idols themselves. Of course, her connections made this a spectacular debut.

The album itself didn’t disappoint, but it may have been a bit shocking. Just from listening to the first song, you wouldn’t expect the album to carry such substance and depth…And if you don’t know Amber well, you really wouldn’t be expecting what’s about to come next…

This album was truly for the fans. Fans have been asking for the following things FOR YEARS from Amber:

1) For Amber to sing more (Because her die-hard fans knew she could sing all along)

2) For Amber to write more music (Because her die-hard fans knew she could write music)

Fans also love Amber for her charm, youthful spirit, humor, and all of her darn K-pop connections.

Combine all of the wants and desires of fans with her personality, and this album delivered it.

This was Amber’s goal for the album: “This album is like an introduction about myself. Every track represents my experiences in life. It’s kind of album that saying ‘Hello~ I am Amber’. I hope to get a lot of support from you” (Amber).

I will review each song.

1) Beautiful

This is the first track on the album. It is also the title of the album and it was the first song Amber promoted on Twitter. In far contrast to “Shake That Brass”, “Beautiful” is a meaningful ballad with acoustic undertones. Amber personally wrote, composed, and arranged the song herself. It sounds like her style of music, if any of you are familiar with the songs she has written before.

Amber reveals to the “less-informed” her melodious voice in this song. This song is sweet, but also carries substance. Amber revealed that she wrote this song three years ago.

It’s a song that seems to focus on Amber’s struggle with having a tomboyish image and her fears of being judged. Tomboyish Amber is not like all the other girls, and she is constantly pressured by people (including fans) to be more feminine. But Amber has learned to be proud of herself and love herself. There are plenty of fans who love Amber for her tomboyish appearance and support her (that’s how she got to where she is now). But there will always be closed-minded individuals out in the world. Amber has had to deal with this. In the lyrics, she mentions how people have said “Hurtful things” and how she had to suck it up and put on a smile. However, instead of being angry at those who criticize her, the song expresses Amber’s happiness with “being herself”. The song truly is “beautiful” and inspirational. Fans who listen to the song know exactly where it is coming from. The lyric video is moving, displaying a collage of photos from when she was a little girl, photos during her debut, and her new, more mature images for Red Light. Amber thus shows us how much she has blossomed. This song reveals a side of Amber most don’t know or understand. It reveals the first part of Amber’s personality.

This song is tasteful and refined. I love this song. It brings tears to my eyes. This is a must-listen.

Amber has a brief rap segment in the song. It almost feels as if Amber is featuring herself. lol ❤ doe.

2) Shake That Brass

This is the promoted song and the second track off of the album. I can see why this song was promoted first. 1) It is the only upbeat song on the album. 2) It reflects the “Amber” personality everyone knows and loves the MOST. She gives us the “rapping” Amber that she’s known for.

The song is lively and upbeat, just like Amber herself. Within the lyrics of the song, Amber refers to her “pet name” Llama, given to her by one of her fans. The whole phrase “shake that brass” is exactly something “Llama” would say on some posts on her Twitter or Instagram. The song is exactly a reflection of Amber. The first two songs on this album reveal Amber’s two very different sides.

“Brass” is in reference to a “brass” instrument. And, of course, it also is meant to be a a cover-up for “ass”.

Amber stated in a radio interview (SBS Cultwo Show) that she made this song last summer. She also said she wanted a song that talked about herself…Which was pretty obvious.

This song seems to, again, fulfill Amber’s dream of a “free stage”. It’s a song anyone can dance to. It’s not over the top. It conveys Amber’s cool and yet dorky charm. But the song is just so darn catchy. It doesn’t have the same depth and substance that the other songs have, but it certainly livens the mood a bit.

The song has the light message of letting go of all of your troubles for awhile, just having a good time, and letting go of shyness.

For some, the song seems a bit out of place on the album. But I thought it fit well with an album that is meant to reveal more about the artist.

Amber sort of reminds me of Will Smith in her rapping style and with how fun she is. Songs like “Switch” and “Getting Jiggy With It” come to mind immediately.

This song is featuring Girls’ Generation (SNSD)’s Taeyeon. I personally enjoyed hearing her voice in the song. I thought it added some sparkle. But there are a lot of people who hoped that Amber would do all the singing and rapping by herself, which is understandable. Many people are hoping that Amber herself would shine for her title song, rather than letting the vocals of an SNSD member shine. Some people felt Taeyeon was a random debut because most people do not understand Taeyeon’s relationship to Amber or the song. Personally, I felt her vocals made the song great.

Amber personally asked Taeyeon to be in her song. She was thinking over who she wanted, and thought Taeyeon would be perfect. This works for live performances. Amber is not used to performing alone, and said she needed someone around to critique her. I think having a feature in the title makes Amber feel more secure about the performance. She’s used to working in a team. I think Taeyeon is the perfect teammate. Taeyeon is her senior and has experience with music.

3) Love Run

This song is one of my favorites. Amber’s English shines in this song. It’s a moving, soft pop number, revealing Amber’s soft vocal abilities yet again. I absolutely love this song. It reminds me of some of Utada’s songs, like the “Flavor of Life”. And y’all know how much I love me some Utada.

Amber’s vocals also shine in this song, and it’s surprisingly catchy for a soft tune.

Believe it or not, this song was said to be based on a drama about a dog. 😄 All of Amber’s fans know how much Amber loves dogs. This song has thus become an addition to the album as a reflection of Amber’s personality. Amber seriously has a soft spot for those little dogsies.

I’ve really enjoyed how deeply personal and expressive the album is…

4) Heights

This song also reveals Amber’s vocals, but it is more of a synth-pop number. The song is really catchy. It is one of my personal favorites. The song seems to be about Amber’s time as an idol. One line mentions how tired she gets sometimes, but then it seems in the bridge she mentions how others remind her to keep pushing forward. She even mentions that sometimes she gets scared. This song seems to be about her long, hard journey through K-pop, and thus another puzzle piece to Amber’s whole picture is revealed.

The song is encouraging in a wistful way. It both makes the listener reflect on days gone, but also encourages the listener to keep moving forward. Man, so many songs take me to another world. Amber’s voice is addictive as well.

5) I Just Wanna

The final track of the album (Yea, I know just five songs, right?) is “I Just Wanna”. Does this song sound familiar to you? That’s because there was a song called “Good-bye Summer” from f(x)’s Pink Tape album with the same sound.

What most people didn’t know is that Amber wrote this song originally in English. It was called “I Just Wanna” before it ever became “Good-bye Summer”, re-written and translated for a Korean audience. Plenty of f(x) and Amber fans got wind of this and were upset that Amber did not get a chance to sing it. In “Good-bye Summer”, it was sort of hijacked by Krystal, Luna, and EXO’s D.O. Everyone felt it was sad that Amber wrote a song and didn’t even sing her own song. Fans begged and pleaded for the full English version.

So, this caters to the English-speaking fans, and makes this album multilingual.

Well, surprise, surprise! Amber put the song on her debut album! This is “fanservice”. That, in itself, shows that Amber is very connected with her fans and their interests.

The song itself feels a little different from “Good-bye Summer”. It adds Amber’s personality in there. “Good-bye Summer” focused on friends who love each other but can’t seem to tell each other. “I Just Wanna” was also about friends who love each other, but it’s not as evident that the feelings can’t be expressed. One line says, “I wish I could say these things to you”, so the two lovers can’t quite get their feelings across in the English version either.

Eric Nam featured on this track. Eric Nam and Amber did a phenomenal job with their duet. I always knew Eric Nam was an amazing vocalist, but he and Amber harmonize their voices well. They are best friends after all, so it’s only natural that they would sing so well together and convey the feelings of the song like it was meant to sound.

The interesting part is that Eric Nam is NOT an SM artist. Since when has an artist from another unrelated label featured in a SM album? SM, the Korean label that Amber is under, usually recruits artists within their label as features on fellow label mates’ albums. “Good-bye Summer”, the Korean cover of this song, featured an EXO member.

I wonder if B2M is getting some of the profits from this song…

Well, that’s it. I know. That is all. This is an EP, so it was not meant to be too long. But honestly, everything was so good, I really wanted more.

Overall, the album had some amazing surprises. The concept and overall feeling of the debut was very true to Amber. It was genuine. The concept was not at all surprising or different from what most fans expected, but Amber was definitely being herself. The most surprising sides to the album were the number of ballads and soft pop numbers introduced on the album. And not one song is horrible. Most of the songs are beautiful and meaningful, hence why I think “Beautiful” was the perfect album title. To add, I think this album showed Amber’s natural beauty and the things that make her attractive as an artist. She’s a rapper, singer, song-writer, and composer. She also speaks both Korean and English throughout the album, appealing to a wide-ranged audience. All of these talents and skills are valuable in K-pop, and even somewhat rare to find, especially among female K-pop artists. Thus, the album itself is valuable.

The only disappointment was that there were only five songs. This lead to other disappointments. Because there were only five songs, it was lacking in variety. Only one song was upbeat. The other songs were softer. If there are people out there who hate ballads and soft songs, they may be disappointed to find only ONE upbeat song. But that doesn’t necessarily take away from the album. The songs are high quality and really good. This is a strong debut album and shows Amber’s professionalism. She has music experience, and this album shows it.

I give this album a 9/10. It is a very professional album. The songs are amazing, surprising, and shows the best of Amber’s talents. Amber’s inner beauty shines, making the title, “Beautiful”, perfect. The only issue is the lack of variety and the fact that this is not a full album, which are not major issues, just my preference. The overall album is a must-listen. I recommend this album to all K-poppers. It’s the perfect debut from a solo female artist, and possibly my favorite.

If you want to see more of Amber’s talents:

Just How Talented is f(x)’s Amber Liu?

You can purchase this album on MeLoN or order a hard copy at Yesasia, Kpop Town, and KTown4U.

You can purchase “Shake That Brass” merch here: Shake That Brass @RedBubble

So far, most people have had mostly positive things to say about this album. f(x) fighting! Amber fighting!

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