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About this blog

As a resident hater of pretty much every piece of music existing, I'll be sharing my thots no one asked for on some random stuff xo.

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Completely unrelated to the entry btw, I just love Jeongyeon with all of my heart and wanted a cute gif to start with.

To cut straight to the point, for the next 31 days I'll be updating this with one new song, not entirely sure why I'm doing this, perhaps just for the kiis of my few months older self finding this and cackling at my current taste, whatever. I'll try to keep it at least half Western/non-Asian so no need to worry about finding exclusively generic, manufactured music you cannot understand here. Hope someone reads it and maybe finds something for themselves too. Also this could probably be posted in Music Mania but I don't want to pollute other sections, this blog is called unwanted opinions trademark sign for a reason.

Day 1: Kanye West - Guilt Trip // One of Ye's most underrated songs and quite possibly top 5 in his entire discography for me. Immaculate production and the mysterious, heavily edited yet enticing chorus are what grabbed my attention at first and after 4 years I still find them just as thrilling and exciting.

Day 2: Prince - Lovesexy (starts at 25:14 because he's extra and "artistic vision!!1") // Despite not being hailed as a masterpiece quite as much as Purple Rain or Sign o' the Times, Lovesexy is just as good as its predecessors. It's Prince at the end of his creativity peak and he ended it with a bang - a record that's fun, carefree, sensual but also varied and ambitious. Its title track embodies all that - and more - in a perfect way.

Day 3: Kelela - LMK // The entire album is great (stream here or, even better, buy there) but nothing has quite topped this for me, def top 10 songs of the year material.

Day 4: (BP) Rania - Style // Classy... sexy... crazy COUTURE...

Day 5: St. Vincent - Los Ageless // Her album is sahfjajas amazing and while the closer is probably currently my favourite, I just cannot stop replaying this pre-release single.

Day 6: Grizzly Bear - Morning Sound // Can't think of anything to say but I really love this sing xoxo.

Day 7: The National - Abel // As much as I like their recent album, it doesn't have a song which would live up to their greatest achievements, such as this one.

Day 8: Taemin - Move // At first listen this came off as really stale and uninteresting to me but started working in the context of the more laid back, subtle album. Unlike a lot of his previous songs, whether solo or as a part of SHINee, it doesn't pop off instantly and instead creeps up on the listener more with each repetiton of the chorus.

Day 9: DIA - My Friend's Boyfriend // After Eunice threw the first brick at Stonewall, she rode her minion to the studio to record this LGBT anthem, quite a productive day for her, I'd say.

Day 10: A.C.E - Callin' // This is esentially the exact same song as their last comeback Cactus, only this time they actually had some budget for the music video and didn't do a gaybait. Normally I'd be mad but Cactus was such an excellent track that for once I don't mind it.

Day 11: Beck - Colors // Although I've never really cared too much for Beck, this album was quite disappointing for me, especially considering how strong this opening track is. Nothing else managed to live up to it, unfortunately.

Day 12: Queens of the Stone Age - If I Had a Tail // I was reserving this spot for Jessie Ware but having heard her poor excuse of an album, I'm not even gonna entertain the idea of giving it more attention. This was somehow the first song which came to my mind otherwise and whew, it still goes off.

Day 13: Junho - Instant Love // How he managed to make Sana not annoying here, I will never know. The album version with additional verse is better btw but the video just has such a gorgeous aesthetic and therefore I'm linking this.

Day 14: Robert Plant - Heaven Sent // Something about is just really moody and atmospheric and I'm really feeling it right now.

Day 15: Epik High - Love Story // I'm kind of in awe that with all odds stacked against them (a k hip hop release under YG Entertainment? you could just ask to get punched in the face) Epik High managed to come up with one of the better Korean albums I've listened to this year. This was my fave, a really lovely song, even if carried mostly by IU's mellow vocal performance.

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I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now Why? Oh, 'cause she's dead!

declares the American sweetheart in the bridge of her newest single. If there is anything positive I could say about the aforementioned line is that it's actually one of the most self-aware ones I've heard in a long time. The old Taylor, a talented songwriter who was capable of coming up with witt, powerful metaphors backed up by solid melodies evolving all the way through compositions, is indeed very dead.

If 1989 had been Swift's first, cautious attempt at becoming a full-time pop star, Look What You Made Me Do sees her catching up to all of her peers in an unbelievably quick way. It's far from being a compliment, however, considering pop girls' level in 2017. Looking at the likes of Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus, it seems almost as if mediocrity is a new standard and a thing all stars currently try to achieve and Swift's new single finds itself fitting right in and embracing the underwhelming trend. It's a song that's awkwardly put together and while going for something unconventional can work favours for a track, this one misses the mark completely. The verses, albeit tolerable, don't provide much to enhance the song and in production of a higher quality would serve nothing but a non-annoying filler leading to the more exciting parts. In Look What You Made Me Do it does the exact opposite – it leads to the parts where the songwriting just fails miserably. The grating piano tickling in its pre-chorus is quite an obvious way to at least slightly build up a tension, something the verses seemingly forgot about, but it sounds just completely out of place and at its best, it resembles Lorde's Green Light, another lead single this year which did the exact same thing better but ultimately fell flat as well. And finally, there's also that chorus which proves Taylor has forgotten how to make repetition sound good. She did so in We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, slightly changing the „talk to” line each time, or in Out of the Woods where her diction constantly evolving, even a little bit, kept the track remotely interesting. Here we have just one line repeated over and over and by the time the chorus appears for the third time, it not only becomes unbearably irritating, it just... stops being catchy. Not to mention the production on it is far recalls far too many other tunes, most notably I'm Too Sexy or Me Too, arguably one of the worst music-related things which happened this decade. It makes the entire thing feel contrived and superficial to the point it's almost painful.

In the end, the production, melody or vocal delivery all become insignificant though. In a world of people caring less and less about lyrics, Taylor has always seemed to do well fairly well in that aspect and even at her dumbest and most eye-rolling (Shake It Off anyone?) she was at least able to come up with a decent hook. Her „embracing the snake” and just in general going all for confronting what the media says about her was bound to happen at some point and it could honestly go either way. It could become intelligent, assuming she still has the way with words she had during writing Speak Now, it could become a fun self-drag, there was really a lot of ways she could make it work in her favour. Look What You Made Me Do goes the exact opposite way, presenting some of her most vapid and meaningless statements to date and potraying Swift as an incredibly insecure person who takes everything too seriously. Even at points where the lyrics seem to be coming together at least a little bit, she ruines it with a childish, unnecessary and laughable line, „I don't like you” being something I absolutely cannot forgive her for. Trying to interpret it as a composition which has absolutely nothing to do with Taylor's apparently overblown idea of her own reputation doesn't help at all. With so many different concepts she's going for (keys to the kingdom, a list of names, crime etc.) none of them is really fully developed and in the end they're all ultimately aimless and vague. Finally, spoken word parts in pop songs are most of the time doomed and destined to turn into a corny nonsense but the part about old Taylor being dead just crosses the line and leaves the listener (or me, at least) with a feeling that this single is nothing more than a self-parody.

Don't get me wrong, self-parodies can be good. They just have to be funny in a non-pitiful way and self-aware.

no link because everyone has already heard it and if you didn't, I'm not gonna make you

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2017 sees SNSD (more widely known as Girls' Generation) celebrating their tenth anniversary, an anomaly for a k-pop group, most of which disband as soon as their few-year-long contracts terminate. During the time the nine – or now eight – girls were together brought them countless hits, including Gee or Genie, tracks often mentioned among the genre's greatest work, success and earned them a „nation's girlgroup” title. Quite a legacy to live up to. Holiday Night, along with the two title tracks promoting it, is a record which more than anything tries to prove whether their previous success was justified or not. Does it succeed?

Starting off with the more successful song, Holiday does not leave SNSD's typical comfort zone. It's an upbeat bubblegum pop track which keeps up with the times but at the same time interpolates a lot of retro influences. Its main strength relies in its ho-ho-holiday hook which is ear-worm-y enough to instantly get stuck in listener's memory and not repetitive enough to get annoying quickly. Besides, the cute little rap part in the second verse seems fairly smooth, pleasant and doesn't come off as awkwardly put into the track which is not something one could say about many SM singles in recent memory. If I were to nitpick, I could definitely live without the over-the-top vocal show-off coming from the TTS trio but it's a disadvantage so minor that with repeated plays it becomes almost unnoticeable.

However, it's All Night which turned out to be the more complex and intriguing song in the longer run. It's much more electronic – with even slight nu-disco influences – and current-sounding than Holiday and has significantly more changes all the way through. I like how the chorus goes in a pretty unexpected direction: despite the obvious build-up in the verses, it doesn't explode instantly. Instead, it slows down for a bit and naturally progresses to its more lively second half. What initially striked me as jarring and misplaced was the dubstep-ish bridge, I thought it was an unnecessary addition ruining the overall mood. I've been warming up to it with every listen though and now I'd say it's a pretty clever nod to all the so-called „SM Sheep” who stan for every boring, Western-pandering, Britney Spears bonus track material which remains self-aware and actually has some personality enhancing it.

Quality-wise SNSD's discography is... questionable for me, to say the least. That's why I came to Holiday Night having zero expectations and that was probably for the better, apart from the title tracks, only one song raised any kind of interest. To focus on the positives though, both All Night and Holiday are both tracks which do make sense as something they'd release for their anniversary. They both paint a picture of a group which might reach their peak popularity anymore but is still a solid player in the music business, one which should not be ruled out.

 

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Blackpink are currently a phenomenon I do not necessarily understand. Being hyped by their CEO as a „pretty version of 2NE1” they quickly became every white gay and their mother's favourite k-pop girlgroup in spite of barely having any material out. Their sound have been a mixed bag so far, with their two debut songs genuinely sounding like a watered-down version of 2NE1, the next two being more low-key and feeling like a step in the right direction... which brings us to their latest work. Is As If It's Your Last be the track to convince me of their alleged greatness?

As sad as it is to constantly compare one act to another, with Blackpink it's inevitable, especially with this song which sounds exactly like something taken from a 2011 2NE1 album which is honestly a blessing and a curse at the same time. On the one hand, the influences of the arguably golden era of k-pop make it stand out among other girlgroups which either try to catch up to Western artists or are stuck with the cute concepts but on the other, there is definitely quite a dated to feeling to it, especially felt during the chorus. That said, it's still probably the best vocal melody they've ever served, the line distribution is on point and the first minute or so of the track sees the girls serving maybe not their most confident but certainly their most convincing performance to date. What happens afterwards is the point when things get messy.

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Lisa. Initially I used to think her lack of talent was a goofy addition which contrasted nicely with admittedly slightly faceless other members. On AIIIL she shows that she is just untalented and there is absolutely no reason for YG to still be keeping her in the group. Her parts on the chorus sound almost exactly like something that would come out of CL's mouth, quite possibly the most insufferable and embarrassing „musician” to have ever graced k-pop. But that is still nothing compared to what might be the most dreadful, brain-dead and jarring rap verse I've heard in 2017. From the unpleasant stretched out babe, through the awful, try-hard lyrics to the hilarious - and not in an enjoyable way - mumbling, I find it hard to believe that with so many people working on the song there was no one to stop her. And the worst part of it is how you can tell she actually believes that she's dropping some kind of edgy, hardcore lines. The reality is that she falls flat in every single aspect and as much as it's always been apparent with her, it's just never reached this ridiculous level.

All things considered, this is not a bad song. It proves that Jennie could easily find success even as a solo artist, that Jisoo improves with each release and that Rose's sweet voice serves as a really sweet way to compliment the other members' vocals (to keep the 2NE1 comparisons going, the modern day Park Bom?). It might still lack that special something that would make me forgive all the shade I gave those girls and the certain someone will obviously always prevent me from fully enjoying it but I'm positive. It unarguably has more personality than their last comeback and if they maintain this level of quality, I will definitely be checking for them in the future.

 

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