Tag Archives: kpop

KPOP TUESDAYS: Snuper’s “It’s Raining”

KPOP TUESDAYS: Snuper’s “It’s Raining”
Olivia of WangGuk

This week is dedicated to a much undervalued KPOP group and that is Snuper. They recently had a comeback surged by the song “It’s Raining” and let me humbly say that it is fire. If you need to watch the music video before you read this review (which you do), here it is:

Firstly: the song itself. It’s like 80s drums meets 90s synchronicity meets incredible ballad vocals meets modernity and freshness. It’s incredible. The vocals are everything. I mean, I love the 80s drums, disco lighting, and rhythm, but these guys’ vocals are honestly some of the cleanest out right now. Let’s take a moment to sigh in awe of SangIl’s voice. He’s the one at 0:30 who starts singing solo first after the catchy chorus intro, brown hair, sings a lot of the song. He’s the one who hits all those clean high notes and who sings the first part of the chorus before everyone else sings the rest of it. His voice is rivaled by very few voices right now for me. Not only does he obviously have incredible range and vocal ability, but his voice is unique, and in the ever-widening marsh that is KPOP, we need uniqueness. Something that stands out. His voice does and so does this song in general.

Let’s also take a look at the set-up and costume choice of this music video. I read in some of the comments that some felt that the dancing and costume was very similar to BTS’s “Blood, Sweat, Tears”, but I disagree. Not only is the style and rhythm of this song completely different than that of BTS, but I really feel like the choice of clothing and styling aren’t really that similar either. The only similarities I can really find are the fact that both groups are insanely talented, both contain mind-blowing vocals (hello Jimin), and perhaps I can see some similarities in Jimin’s “Blood, Sweat, Tears” outfit and some of the Snuper guys’— but that’s really only because Jimin sported an over-sized floppy collared shirt and a mock-choker necklace type necktie (which by the way is a trend I am currently in love with. For some reason it’s just so flattering and sexy). Other than this one stylistic choice, though, I don’t see a lot that’s similar. The choreo and dancing? 아니. I’m sorry, but no one dances like BTS…no one. I love both groups and both are clearly talented, but there isn’t really anyone who’s on BTS’s choreo level. And besides that, i just don’t feel they’re similar choreographies at all anyway.

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I am LOVING the simple stylistic choices in this video. It’s very simple but striking: plain white floppy shirts, black pants, black shoes, incredible dancing. I love that they all sport a slightly different hair color (not only is that helpful for those who are new to the group and trying to figure out who’s who— smart choice, production company— but it also gives them each an individual flair in an otherwise monochromatic look: white on black on black. I also like their other outfits in the video. Very eclectic yet sophisticated. They looked grown-up and put together, but still very simple and effortless. Nice high turtle-necks, fitted blazers, and minimal hats. Makes for an effortless chic and puts them out of risk of looking like they’re trying too hard. And again, I of course love the guy chokers. They seem to be making a stab right now in the fashion world and I love it. A touch of androgyny and simple chic. And a tip of the hat to 90s, and I love anything 90s, stylistically speaking.

I also think their choreography is on-point for the style of this song. It’s not too much, but it’s unique and passionately done. It’s just right. I have to take one moment to say that the slow-motion shots of the choreo, especially focused on SeBin, are a heart-attack. These slo-mo bits are a great way to break up the speed and fast pace of the song and it also gives us a moment to see how pretty they are and who doesn’t want that opportunity? I also think their foot work is great and well put together. Nothing sloppy about it— it’s fresh.

Lastly, I have to say, for being a very catchy, upbeat song, the lyrics are kind of phenomenal. I love the chorus and I really like how they portray love: it’s surprisingly real and accurate and not all cutesy or unrealistic or hackneyed. It’s pretty raw…while still maintaining an upbeat and quick wit and pace. I just think it’s kind of genius. The words work so well and fit perfectly together, even the English portions of the chorus. Like all good songs should be, this is poetry made catchy. A total score.
So there you have it for this week: A totally unexpected three-pointer by Snuper. I am really glad I stumbled upon these guys this month and I wish more people would because they are seriously overlooked and underrated.
I really hope that this is the start of seeing some of this group’s immense and diverse talents in the near future, because I am loving them.

KPOP Tuesdays: Skrillex/Diplo/GD/CL’s “Dirty Vibe”

KPOP Tuesdays: Skrillex/Diplo/GD/CL’s “Dirty Vibe”
Olivia of WangGuk

     Let me begin by offering my cold, hard, personal opinion by wholly unapologetically saying that this is the WORST song and video I may have ever witnessed. Now, this is of course my own opinion, but I will explicate how I feel and why in this KPOP Tuesday.
First of all, the song itself is nothing special. The mix on it is pretty terrible and it isn’t catchy to me at all— and I realize that the song may be considered catchy by a ton of other people. That’s fine. But as far as musical creativity goes, where is it? I couldn’t find one thing about the beat, words, or structure of the song that I found the least bit interesting or stimulating. I remember a time when I actually could turn on some of Skrillex’s work and sit through it (there weren’t many examples of this, but I did have a few pieces I could enjoy at one point in time). But this? I mean, there’s nothing I can really compliment about it. The beat isn’t catchy, the mix is not creative in the least, and the theme of the song is negative, tired, and hackneyed.

Speaking of hackneyed, was this not the most uninteresting music video I’ve ever laid eyes on? Yes. Yes, I dare say it was. It was awful. For way more than one reason. This whole club-kid-from-the-90s-goes-modern-day-occult-grunge theme is so over. I’m done with it. I don’t want to see it anymore. If you’re an artist and you want to make it in the industry, show the public something they haven’t already seen a thousand-and-one times. This stupid theme with all its occult triangles, slimy eyeballs, trill this and trill that, yin yangs, butterflies, aliens— it needs to end. Or at least just leave it alone for a while, and if you’re going to make a new song, have it be just that— SOMETHING NEW. I’m so sick of seeing the same theme used over and over; it just isn’t interesting anymore and it isn’t pushing any boundaries.

I also have to say that if this was supposed to be some big great break-through moment for CL and GD to couple with Diplo and Skrillex for a multi-cultural, multi-musical collaboration, boy was this an opportunity blown. I love the fact that more and more artists are trying to break into other cultures’ music industries— what a fantastic way to share culture! But this song illustrates the perfect way to not do that successfully. It’s disappointing only because I know CL and GD are capable of way better work than this. It’s honestly very shocking to me that they put this out and were okay with it. Number one, the lyrics are so unoriginal. I mean good gravy, how many times have we heard the I’m-a-bad-girl/boy-and-everybody’s-so-jealous-of-me crap? It isn’t necessary anymore. We understand: you’re some big famous rich celebrity who loves to rap about how great you are. After a while, it just gets old. And at a point, when must we say, “Okay, well…what else ya got?” It’s ridiculous to me that we can’t put the rap on a mainstream public pedestal which actually deserves to be there. The rap in this song is worthy of no such pedestal— no such anything even close to that.

There’s also the issue of GD spitting “mother-fucker” out all over the place needlessly, while a posse of awkward, confused-looking children trail him, copying his weird unattractive gimp-gait. I’m sorry but WHAT? Call me old-fashioned, but since when is it okay to spray “mother-fucker” all over some kids who are grossly clad in matching clothing to some person they don’t even know? That part really bothered me. Not only was it unnecessary and stupid, but we’ve seen it before— hello GD’s “One of a Kind” video; same deal. Little kid dressed up just like him copying his every move. Besides being kind of creepy, has GD really no more ideas? And finally, we have CL. CL, who is only slightly better-attired than the other women in this video. This is only because she is attired at all. The other women sport neon underwear while fawning over GD and his not-so-impressive rap. Speaking of unimpressive raps, oh CL, why? Again, there was nothing good about this at all. My (fake) favorite part was her “talk shit with the prettiest lips, blow a kiss, kick a hole in your speaker then split.” No explanation necessary. Let me say that I’ve never been truly impressed with CL’s rapping from day one, but this is horrible. It isn’t even rapping; to me, it’s an insult to real rap.

So needless, to say, I was beyond disappointed with this collaboration (if that’s what we’re even calling this; it really just sounds like four people made four different equally awful songs and smashed them together and let them play over each other). I really expected more out of at least GD. After “Baddest Female,” I learnt not to expect too much out of CL, but GD can do so much better and I know it. After “Crooked” and “니가 뭔데,” I really looked forward to the direction GD was moving in as an artist, and this song was just so disappointing. I hope in the very near future both GD and CL get their acts together and produce something that’s at least worthy of the time it took just to critique this.

The Sol Also Rises… Again

KPOP Tuesdays:  Taeyang’s Ringa Linga
Olivia of WangGuk

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Sorry that posts have been really hap-hazard this past week; being busy is a blessing, but it kind of sucks when it comes to trying to post everyday.  I’ll try my best to have a better posting week this time.

Anyway, this week was full of great comebacks by so many of my favs in KPOP that it was fairly difficult to choose which I was going to review first.  But I decided on Taeyang’s new song and video Ringa Linga.  Because it’s awesome.
There are so many comments on this video, it’s insane— many of which are a little frustrating and silly to me.  Let me start off by saying that I really love this new song from Taeyang.  It’s fresh, it’s innovative, but it’s still completely Taeyang.

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The sound is a little different for Taeyang, compared to most of his past work.  I mean, there’s a lot of electro-synth-y sounds and auto-tune, the video is visually super different than most of his other ones, and let’s not forget the most exciting new aspect of this song:  Taeyang raps!  There are many reasons I love this song, but I think the main reasons are the fact that Taeyang has tried something so new and fresh and different from his past work and also that he seems so much more himself in this new image of his.
I have heard a lot of criticisms of Taeyang’s new look, all of which seem a little ungrounded to me.  Many people have been commenting things like “Oh Taeyang just copies whatever GD does” and “Oh, I just miss the old Taeyang” and other such sentiments.  Numero uno, no one is copying anyyyyyone.  Yes, Taeyang has blonde hair now and yes, he tried rapping in this song.  This does not mean he looked at GD and was just like “Hmm, that looks cool; I’ll just do that for my next video”— it means Taeyang has blonde hair now and explored rap in this new album.  These two artists are BFFs, yes, but they are so distinctly different, it’s kind of astounding to me that people could even say they’re even somewhat similar.  Because they really aren’t.  And to all who “just miss the old Taeyang”, I guess I’d simply say this:  being an artist is a journey.  Artists grow and progress; they explore new ideas and concepts and new ways to carry out those concepts.  I love Taeyang’s past work because he’s always been talented, but I love his new work because it means he’s moving forward and exploring all of his many selves as an artist— it’s a good thing that his new stuff doesn’t sound like his old stuff; it doesn’t mean he’s not Taeyang anymore, it just means that he’s exploring different parts of himself as an artist.

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As for the setting of this video— it’s sick.  I love the underground, modern-day dirty-grunge-clubkid look and I love that the song matches the scene.  The colors are icy and cool, which perfectly matches Taeyang’s new personal look.  And honestly, I like this look on Taeyang— he looks a bit more chic and high-fashion to me now, and I think his stunning features pop a little bit more now.
Some key aspects about this video that really make it for me are the unique spin on androgyny, the exploration of cultural and social diversity, and the creativity behind the dance and song.  Firstly, I noticed that all of the girls in this song were sexy, yes, but not in a stereotypical way.  At one point, they’re doing their little baby-got-back booty-raises, but they’re not wearing vagina-high shiny club dresses, as expected; instead, they’re wearing these super cool almost sack-like black dresses with hardly any shape at all to them, paired with big black snapbacks.  Their dresses are loose and baggy, and they honestly look more “guyish” than some of the guys in the video— I love this!  I love this unique spin on the modern-day concept of androgyny; it’s a great challenge to how we view sexiness and I honestly think it’s a step ahead of the curve.  The subtle comments made by a simple stylistic choice— genius.

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Secondly,  I love the social and cultural meshing that occurs in the setting of the video.  It’s this grungy, underground party scene, but it’s super chill and there are people from many different cultural and social backgrounds present in the video— I like this.  I also like that, at the end of the video, we see some of this modern-day grunge-clubkid hip-hop scene mixed with some traditional Asian culture and also some traditional hip-hop culture.  There’s something about the setting of the video that is inclusive yet diverse— it’s very progressive, actually.  The scene is set around these club/party kids who kind of stand as the youth of today, including all social outcasts and rebels of the day, but I like it because diversity still exists among them and cultural identity is so interwoven in social identity in the video.  It’s quite smart, I think.
Finally, let’s be honest— no one moves like Taeyang.  No one ever will.  His dance for this song is unique and progressive, so it matches the scene of the video, and his movements all perfectly bring to life the feeling of the song.  I loved it; I was impressed by all aspects of the song and accompanying video.  Taeyang has come such a far way since I Need a Girl, and I’m really excited to see where he goes next in his journey as an artist.

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photo creds:

www.soompi.com

asianidolnow.net

kenh14.vn

clipland.ru

bigbangupdates.com

ygunited.com

O! R U L8 2?

KPOP Tuesdays:  BTS’s New Album, O! R U L8, 2? (Oh! Are you Late, Too?)
Olivia of WangGuk
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So last week’s KPOP review was on BTS’s new song, N.O, which I love.  But this week, I found it really difficult to review any one specific music video because I was still too distracted by how amazing BTS really is.  I came to this realization after purchasing their newest album on iTunes.  This album is insanely good— by any standard.
If you’ve ever watched an interview with these guys, you’ve probably heard them say some version of what is quickly becoming their group catch phrase:  that they are striving to produce the most authentic and real rap/hip-hop.  This is a fine goal, to be sure, as Jack would say, but it is no easy task.  Hip-hop and street rap have an intense cultural history and real rap— I’m talking the purest of poetry, that sick spoken word— is not an easy mode of expression to master.  That’s why this new album impresses me so much.  When I hear the songs, I hear more than a melody and I hear more than a good beat (which is all I can really say for a lot of music these days).  I hear rawness, I hear realness, I hear something deep and tangible.  This album deals with some heavy themes, but it is by no means an intensely heavy album altogether.  It’s just real.  It’s just music done right.  It has so much soul in it; I’m honestly in love with it.
If you haven’t listened to this album yet, invest some time in it— it will be WORTH IT.  And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Yeah but I don’t understand Korean”, then look up the beautiful lyrics so that you can appreciate them, but also just sit and enjoy the insanely good rhythms these guys weave.  They are all talented members— there’s not one in the group who isn’t.  But if I’m really going to point fingers at who captured my heart in this album, I guess I’d have to point toward the group’s leader, Rap Monster.  He’s an insanely good rapper— in English and in Korean— and his voice is always so heavy and full of the burden he’s communicating in his songs.  He’s crazy talented, and I never realized just how talented until I listened to this album all the way through (on my way to my cousin’s orchestra, if you read yesterday’s post).
Anyway, I just wanted to make a post about how much I love this album because…I love it haha.  And it MUST be appreciated, it’s too good.  So check it out!

Everybody Say “N.O”

KPOP Tuesdays:  BTS (Bangtan Boys//방탄소년단)’s “N.O”
Olivia of WangGuk

Watch official video here first>>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5GaAEHvHj0
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I’m super excited about today’s post because I get to talk about one of my favorite recent MVs in KPOP.  It of course comes from a rookie group (I always fall in love with the underdogs), who debuted earlier this year:  BTS.  This group has many names (Bangtan Boys, 방탄소년단, Bulletproof Boy Scouts, etc.), but what they are gaining more and more attention for is what they choose to center most of their music around.  Most of their hit songs are social commentaries about the school system and societal expectations of students in modern-day Korea.  They’ve gained a lot of positive attention from students around the world, but they’ve also inevitably gained some negative attention from people who think their blatantly negative view of the school system and the life of a student will affect the way students view education.
Firstly, I have to say that I am of the prior opinion and not the latter.  There is no doubt in my mind that BTS is one of the most impressive rookie groups in the last three years (AT LEAST) and I definitely must say that their social commentary achieved through their songs is inspiring, rather than negative.  I have always been a fan; this most recent addition to their repertoire is easily one of my favorites from them so far.
The video starts with all the boys sitting in a small, closed, white-wall classroom and the instructors look kind of like a cross between cops and snow-troopers.  The snow-trooper-cop teachers gives the boys little red pills and then make them sit through a lecture.  Eventually, the boys get angsty and decide to overturn all of their desks and charge the teachers, even though they have police barricade-type plastic shields.  The boys escape the confines of the classroom (actually, the classroom kind of just blows up) and then the video shifts to more of their awesome choreo.

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What I really love about this song and video is that the lyrics coincide perfectly with the choreography.  It’s like the words come to life through the dance, especially at the end when the whole last chunk of the video is devoted to an intensely choreographed moment.  The movements are all unique and they’re always so in-sync with each other.
As for the theme of the song, yes, it is about the negative aspects of the school system.  But, rather than worrying if songs like this might negatively affect how students view school, perhaps we should take the stance that this is already how a great number of students feel.  This song discusses the difficulties of a student’s life, highlighting such things as social stigmas, the idealized “dream life,” and the pressure of meeting parents‘ standards.  The lyrics are deep and thoughtful; just look them up.  This song is not encouraging students to view school in this manner; this song is a resonation to how students already feel.  It is a response to society and the many stigmas young people now face.  It’s a lament, yes, so it isn’t a happy song, but it also isn’t declaring anarchy, so I don’t think we should categorize it as negative propaganda against the education system— and I’m a teacher haha.  I will say that it is unfortunate that school can be so confining and stifling, but I mean, there are positive and negative aspects to any sort of system.  I have seen extremely healthy school environments, where creativity and ideas flow uninhibited, and I have also seen classrooms that can be classified as what BTS illustrates in this video.  The point isn’t to bash school— it’s just to challenge kids to see beyond the mundane stereotypical life; to truly ask what their dreams are.

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However, this song challenges a lot of social norms that are unhealthily idealized, and I think that’s valuable.  It brings to question what really is the “dream life” and what it means to live life well.  The song’s chorus says “Everybody say ‘NO!‘  It has to be now or never; we still haven’t done anything.  Don’t be trapped in someone else’s dream.  We roll, we roll, we roll.”  I love this; the “we roll” brings to mind how we can just “roll” through life and just go with the flow, never striving for more than the status quo.  And they’re advising kids to live their own lives and follow their own dreams— not anyone else’s.  It’s not necessarily a “rage against the machine” move; they’re simply giving good advice.  Dreams are valuable; kids need to know that their dreams and passions aren’t stupid— they’re real.  I followed my dream (finally) and no, I don’t have my own house yet and yeah, I have no money; but this dream is better than any stable job I can think of.  I do think there is value in practicality— we do have to survive in this world (it’s why I have a day job).  But we also must not let go of our true passions— there’s a place for them in this world, and passions need to be pursued; dreams need to be lived.
So, instead of seeing this song as just another angsty teen song that’s only a bunch of kids saying “I hate school”, take a closer listen (or read) at what they’re actually saying and give a deeper thought to what living well truly means.  God gives dreams for a reason, yo.  Listen to His voice.

Still photo creds:

mwave.interest.me

www.soompi.com 

www.gurupop.com

Beautiful People

Beautiful Persons List.

This is a SHORT list of some of the people I find seriously attractive.

And they’re all Korean pop stars, because that’s my type. So if it isn’t yours, you probably won’t like this haha.  But, if  you happen to have a taste similar to mine, enjoy.

They aren’t in a particular order, like least-to-greatest or greatest-to-least or anything. They’re just all beautiful.  Except GD.  He’s at the top of my list for pretty much absolutely anything.

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Kwon “G-Dragon” Jiyong
May seem kind of an interesting choice, but this man is honestly one of the most wholly beautiful persons I’ve ever encountered.
He’s attractive in all the ways a person can be attractive.
He’s an artist, creative, passionate, kind, and most intriguing,
he is never afraid to explore all of the different sides and versions of himself.
He’s amazing.  And I’ve been in love with him since I first heard him.
He’s a crazy fierce celebrity, but I feel like I can still take one look at him and still see straight to his heart and see the real him.
That’s unique.
He’s my favorite.  Always will be.

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Choi “T.O.P” SeungHyun
So of course any “beautiful people” list would be incomplete without T.O.P at the absolute TOP (ahhhaaaa) of it.
He’s gorgeous. Enough said.

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JunQ of MYNAME
Okay, so is it just me, or is this guy STUNNING and seriously underrated?
And I don’t know why, but I started noticing him a WHOLE lot more in MYNAME’s recent comeback video for “Day by Day”.
Seriously gorgeous. And he raps.
Let me say it here and now: there’s nothing hotter than a guy who can rap in Korean.
NOTHING.

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Myungsoo of INFINITE
Okay, this kid is seriously gorgeous. I first saw him in his drama “Shut Up and Let’s Go” and was like “UM, who is that” and then I came to find that he is a part of INFINITE.  And let’s be real, I think every single one of the INFINITE guys is extremely attractive.
Like, there isn’t one that isn’t amazingly beautiful.
But Myungsoo is flawless.

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Hongbin of VIXX
I also think that all of VIXX is gorgeous.  But Hongbin is immaculate.
Like, there literally isn’t one thing about him that’s
unattractive.  Just watch some of their variety
shows or interviews with him and you’ll understand.

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Jimin of BTS (Bangtan Boys)
This guy KILLS me.
It’s his weird, sideways look and little smirk thing that he does.
Like I’m seriously dead when I see him.
I think it’s his eyes— they’re a really interesting shape.  Makes his face interesting-looking too; he’s a unique kind of good-looking.
Watch their “Bulletproof pt 2” MV; he kills.

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Im Yoon Ho
This is the gorgeous Im Yoon Ho.  He’s an actor.
I first saw him in the drama “Level 7 Civil Servant” with actor
Joo Won, who is another love of mine; he’s amazing too. Just watch that drama, or Im Yoon Ho’s new drama, “A Tale of Two Sisters” and you’ll understand why this guy is so cute.

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Xia Junsu
I am IN LOVE with Xia Junsu.  Seriously THE FACE of androgynous beauty for me.   (I love androgynous beauty).
Whether he’s the girl or the guy in his music videos, he alllwaaayyyysss looks great.
He really takes beauty to the next level, I think.  It’s no longer gendered with him; he’s just a beautiful being.  And his voice only makes him more beautiful.  Watch his videos for “Tarantellegra” and “Uncommitted” and maybe you’ll understand why I am in love.

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Jonghwan of 100% (백퍼센트)
Stunning, right?
Overlooked beauty of an overlooked group.  He’s the guy in the center of the photo.  I actually think all of the guys of 100% are fairly attractive, but for some reason, Jonghwan stands out to me as unique.  His angles are so interesting.
I like interesting faces, and he has one, so he’s really beautiful to me.
Watch their MVs for “Bad Boy” and “Want U Back”; he is GORGEOUS and so charismatic in “Want U Back”, oh my word.

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Kevin Woo of U-KISS
Talk about flawless.  Another fairly androgynously beautiful face.
Kevin has always been gorgeous to me.
(Even his personality is gorgeous; he just has a good heart).
He looks good with or without make-up, too, which I always think is impressive because I feel like it’s like a night-and-day difference whether or not I wear it.
And he’s an amazing dancer… I mean guys, it really doesn’t get much better than Kevin Woo, let me tell you.

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Simon Park of DMTN
Half-Japanese, Half-Korean.
Speaks Japanese, Korean, and English.
Can rap in all three.
I mean, if perfection existed, ladies and gentlemen… IF perfection existed.
*PS: totally love his Chrome Hearts glasses here. Good taste.

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Jay Park
Another interesting face.
He sings, dances, and raps in Korean.
He’s like, the definition of sexy.
I mean, he’s Jay Park, everyone.
Of course he was going to be on here.
DUH.

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Seungri of BIGBANG
Yeah, okay, Seungri’s on here.  I actually usually do not find Seungri that attractive.  Usually, I’m like “ugh, Seungri, you so sleeeaazy” or “ugh Seungri, you little man-child, grow up.”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, HE DID.
I saw his new MV for “Gotta Talk to You” and suddenly, Seungri was this…
MAN.
I was like, “oh geez Seungri, what the eff HAPPENED?”
Maybe all of you who have always found the little panda attractive all along were just like “well, yeah” but I was in SHOCK at how gorgeous he is in this video.
The shots of him are incredible and his skin is so flawless.
Well done growing up, Seungri.  Seriously.

So yeah, there’s some noteworthy beautiful people for you to check out.  I did this post instead of a Fashion-History-Friday haha, so sorry about that.  But I really just felt like documenting some beautiful persons’ faces haha.

So there you go ❤