UKP Magazine Winter 2017

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We talk to the talented choreographer at his LoKo Workshop.

Try out this much loved Korean treat, perfect for the colder months.



Alcoholic and non-alcoholic K-pop inspired treats for your festive feasts.


Your artworks featured inside!


A printed copy of UKP Magazine Details inside. T&Cs apply.


A jumper-dress special



CONTENTS CULTURE 22 USEFUL WINTER WORDS Feel cool with some Winter vocab.


24 5 WINTER FESTIVALS Five must visit Winter festivals in Korea.


Let’s take a look at the brilliant BTS and their climb to international fame

NEWS 04 NEWS ROUND UP A summary of the latest UK K-pop news. 08 UPCOMING EVENTS What’s what in local K-pop/Korean events. 10 DPR LIVE COVERAGE A review of DPR Live in London.

MUSIC 12 NEW RELEASES A summary of hot new K-pop hits

26 INDIE SPECIAL: KINGSTON RUDIESKA This ska outfit is the life of the party. 28 RECIPE:ROASTED CHESTNUTS A warm winter treat popular in Korea. 30 HOW TO: WINTER COCKTAILS Alcoholic and non-alcoholic K-pop cocktails. 32 PLACES TO VISIT IN KOREA: DEC Cool hotspots for a Winter trip.

FILM 34 WINTER FILMS & DRAMAS Warm up with these Korean classics. 36 REVIEW: THE VILLAINESS A slick thriller with a kickass female lead.

14 ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT: PRODUCE 101 A look at the alumni of Produce 101 S2. 16 IDOL SPOTLIGHT: BTS Take a peek into BTS’ international stardom. 18 WINTER WONDERLAND X-mas K-pop hits to get that festive feeling. 20 QUIZ & GAMES Who is your Winter snugglebug?




After a brief break over Autumn, we’re back again with another jam packed issue of UKP Magazine. Jump in for some festive fun the K-pop way!


Let’s take a look at the brilliant BTS and their climb to international fame

Freya Bigg, Founder

FEATURE 38 INTERVIEW: BONGYOUNG PARK An interview with the choreographer. 40 OP-ED: NORAEBANG A look at Korea’s Karaoke culture. 42 NIKI & SAMMY ON K-POP Guest article by the popular YouTubers. 44 TRENDING TOPICS What’s buzzing in the world of K-pop. 46 JONGHYUN REMEMBERED Celebrating the life of Kim Jonghyun



Freya Bigg Holly Smith Amanda Birchall Kristine Phillips Sophia Tang Locke Kaito Katy Small Donna Sheffield Amy Furney

54 GTL: JUMPER DRESS SPECIAL Wear dresses this Winter, the warm way.

Special Thanks

56 SANTA, PLEASE... Must have K-cosmetics this Winter.

BritROK Bongyoung Park LoKo Dance Workshop

48 FANART CORNER Your fanart, featured! 50 UKP AWARDS Check out the nominees, and get voting!

Ann Amarawansa Emma Alford Lerah Barcenilla Designers Freya Bigg Lore Walsh Emily Stewart




NAMJOON GUESTS ON UK RADIO STATION ‘THE HITS’! Radio presenter Olivia Jones had reached out on Twitter in early October using #RMOnTheHits to try and build some momentum with the project to have the BTS leader on for an interview. Since then, she had tweeted what questions that UK ARMY’s would have for BTS which may have acted as a spoiler for what was to come. Namjoon featured on the show on October 26th.

BTS IS FIRST KOREAN GROUP TO REACH #1 ON THE UK ITUNES The Big Hit Entertainment boy group have been going beyond and above this year with the insane level of international success they’ve been receiving from their fans all over the world. BTS scored big over in the UK especially, as they achieved #1 on the UK iTunes Album Chart which had never been previously done before. The support from ARMY’s in the UK has been immense and their efforts put BTS into the Top 40 on the Official UK Chart at #14!

GFRIEND BEATS SENIOR GROUPS TO WIN MTV EMA AWARD From veteran to rookie groups, Highlight, GFriend, Mamamoo, Seventeen and WANNA ONE were nominated for ‘Best Korea Act’ at this year’s MTV EMA! GFriend were revealed to be the winners on November 12th. Previous winners of this award includes B.A.P in 2016 and 2014, BTS in 2015 and EXO being the first in 2013 which signals how popular and how far K-Pop has come in the last 3 years. BIGBANG first featured at the awards in 2012 as Best World Act.

YOUTUBER KOREAN ENGLISHMAN USES KOREAN CHICKEN AS AN ICE BREAKER FOR THE KINGSMAN ACTORS! Following the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, some of the cast members flew over to South Korea to promote the latest instalment to the action spy film series. The first film performed exceptionally well, hence the reason SK was chosen as one of the countries for the press tour. Josh Carrott, the host of the YouTube channel Korean Englishman introduced Korean Chicken to Taron Egerton and Mark Strong, who plays main characters Eggsy and Merlin respectively. The reception was as expected as the pair enjoyed the different variations of this popular Korean cuisine!

NU’EST W FEATURED ON THE UK ITUNES ALBUM CHART FOR THE FIRST TIME! Success has been following this group since their appearance on Produce 101: Season 2, which has paid off by giving this group the exposure that they needed to turn their careers around. The Pledis group charted on UK iTunes for the first time, climbing all the way up from #172 to peaking at #49! While it may have taken them 5 years, it looks like they’ve won over the hearts of not only fans in South Korea but all over the world.

BTS CRACKS INTO UK RADIOS WITH THEIR NEWEST SONG ‘DNA’! Olivia Jones has been championing them since she played their latest song during one of her segments. Then, it seemed that presenters at BBC Radio 1 caught wind of BTS such as Adele Roberts, Ceallach Spellman and Scott Mills who had also included them on their #BestNewPop segment on at least two occasions.


EXO REAPS MORE SUCCESS WITH THEIR SECOND COMEBACK THIS YEAR ON THE UK ITUNES ALBUM EXO’S CHANYEOL AND CHART! WINNER’S MINO AND It would be no surprise to hear that EXO had performed well on the SEUNGHOON STEAL international charts in addition to THE SPOTLIGHT AT topping various domestic charts, the SM boy group became the highest LONDON FASHION charting group with the release WEEK! of ‘The War’ in July at #3 and then It looks like those in attendance during one of the most prestigious events in the fashion industry were all in abuzz at the appearance of these three rappers. Chanyeol turned heads sitting front row at the Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2017 Show while Mino and Seunghoon caught attention during the Burberry Spring 2018 Collection Show. Even Vogue were full of praises for these three, appreciating the difference in how they rock their fashion styles— whether it’s bold or casual, they always make it work and look good too!


KOREAN BILLY MADE AN APPEARANCE IN A CARPHONE WAREHOUSE AD! You may have come across this YouTuber, with his videos on different accents in the UK ranging from the many different English dialects to even covering the Welsh accent. He’s been featured on BBC News a couple of times and even taken part in interviews with BBC Radio in varied regions, so it’s no wonder that Carphone Warehouse have collaborated with Korean Billy to promote the new Galaxy Note8 from Samsung by learning ‘Roadman’ slang!

proceeded to break their own record on September 5 with their 4th full repackaged album ‘The War: The Power of Music’ at #2. This only continues to show how supportive UK EXO-L’s are and how strong the K-Pop fanbase is over here!

KOREAN ARTISTS COVER SONGS FROM ED SHEERAN! There’s been plenty of covers of wellknown British singer Ed Sheeran’s hit songs by a handful of Korean artists from Lunafly’s Sam, Gray, Day6, Sam Kim, BLACKPINK’s Rosé, AKMU’s Suhyun, Lee Hi and more. The tracks ‘Thinking of You’ and ‘Shape of You’ were particularly popular choices. Which only goes to show that while he has fans all over the world, he’s can be considered an inspirational figure to all these artists in the Korean music industry.





YOUNG IN HONG The Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in the UK of Young In Hong (b.1972). The exhibition focuses on a series of pieces made up of embroidered works, sound installation and performance. The embroidery, a signature working method of the artist, will be presented as a focal point of the exhibition from which a sound installation and performance will evolve. 21st - 30th Dec 2017




Rampant, also known as Outbreak, is an upcoming South Korean historical action zombie film directed by Kim Sung-hoon. Rampant tells the action story of a hero named Yi Chung (Hyun Bin) who fights against “Night Demons” to save the Joseon nation. Yi Chung is the son of the king, and the greatest martial artist in the world. Although he is given to the Qing Empire as a political hostage, he returns home when his brother, the Crown Prince Yi Young (Kim Joo-hyuk), calls him back after many years. And it’s because of the nightmarish monsters plaguing the country that Yi Chung is tasked to destroy.

Are You Human Too? is an upcoming South Korean television series starring Seo Kang-joon and Gong Seung-yeon. Nam Shin (Seo Kang-Joon) is a son from a family who runs a large company. After an unexpected accident, he falls into a coma. His mother Oh Ro-Ra (Kim Sung-ryung) is an authority on brain science and artificial intelligence. She creates an android named Nam Shin III which looks like just like her son Nam Shin.


STRAY KIDS After a reality show created by JYP Entertainment and Mnet – a male idol project concept of winning the “trainees versus JYP” survival set to air on October 17, 2017 with no eliminations. The trainees worked towards the goal of debuting altogether. At the beginning of October 2017, their first song Hellevator was released introducing the nine members. Stray Kids are expected to debut in 2018.




Loona, stylized as LOOΠΔ, is an upcoming South Korean girl group formed by Blockberry Creative, a subsidiary of Polaris Entertainment, set to debut in 2018. Each month, starting in October 2016 and lasting for 18 months, there is a new release of a single album or extended play, introducing a new member or subunit to the group. In 2018, with the project completed, all twelve members will debut as one group.


HALO EUROPE TOUR BeatCraze Events have teamed up with Kanzen Music to bring HALO’s Europe tour in March 2018. The six member South Korean boy group who debuted on June 2014 with the single “Fever” is set to tour 8 countries to bring 8 fantastic shows!


Coverage DPR LIVE in London By Lerah Barcenilla Photography by Leilayne Reyes,

ith a sold out show that required relocation from Electrowerkz to Mangle E8 and more tickets made available due to popular demand (which then sold out again after a few minutes), fans were seen queuing up as early as 7am on October 17th to see rapper DPR LIVE in his first ever performance overseas. Hosted by Cult of Ya, tickets were separated into General Entry and VIP, with the VIP ticket holders given the opportunity to take photographs with the rapper and early entry to the venue.



With an increasingly cold weather, and the amount of time fans had waited to get the best view, problems start to arise when VIP entry was delayed for more than thirty minutes. VIPs finally started lining up for photos inside the venue at around 7pm. The photo session lasting only a few minutes, giving just enough time for a few words with the artist before being ushered out back to the stage area. It wasn’t until 9pm that the show started – and this was just the DJs (DJ Someone and Andow). After an hour long set, the real show started with Know Me, as DPR LIVE jumps on stage to the fans chants of the lyrics, the bass pumping onto the floor and the strobe lights against LIVE’s face as he looks at the crowd in awe, a massive smile on his face. “This is crazy! I see you guys at the back!” He grins and points at somewhere in the crowd. This happens throughout his set, as he makes sure to acknowledge the crowd and even makes eye contact

with a few lucky fans. “Wassup everybody, I go by the name DPR LIVE! This is crazy, it’s nice to be here. This is my first show ever abroad from Korea. I feel so great man, and because I just feel so blessed, this one’s for you.” And God Bless starts to play to the excited shouts of the crowd. The energy increases as Thirst plays and the crowd sings to the lyrics. When LIVE stops singing and holds the mic out towards the crowd, you can hear them sing the missing lyrics and the rapper smiles. As the final notes of Thirst finishes, LIVE holds a finger to his lips and says, “All the ladies in here, we’ll go straight to the top with your lungs okay? 1, 2, 3!” and the crowd goes wild, “I don’t wanna leave the guys out right?” and the whole left side erupts, he grins. “I think they’re ready! Now for the next song you gotta sing just as loud – when I say ‘Girl your body be like-‘” The crowd soon chants “Laputa, Laputa,” he smiles, dances along, as Laputa plays and the stage shakes as he jumps, the bass rumbles with the crowd enthusiastically singing along the lyrics. You can hear the whole crowd shout “Coming to you live.” There’s a moment where he stops and just listens to the crowd singing to his lyrics perfectly with a smile. “As y’all know I go by the name DPR LIVE and I’m here with the gang, gang-” the crowd cheers, “to the left is Christian Yu, to the right is Scott Kim! And behind me is DJ Someone. Who likes Cheese and Wine?” “I don’t know if you guys comprehend how crazy this is for us, you know what I mean, like if there are any day one’s here or from the album Coming to You Live. This crew, this family, we started with nothing – you knowv what I mean? We just started with a f***ing dream man.”

“As you all know I’m the rapper, musician in DPR, Christian Yu handles videos, Scott in the back, he does all the back work, without them none of this would’ve happened so make some noise – it’s crazy.” The crowd replies with just as much energy. Someone screams we love you from the crowd and he laughs shyly, a small smile on his face. “This next song is one of the first songs I did for Coming To You Live, this was one of the first songs we pitched to another artist – and this was, you know, Jay Park,” the crowd erupts knowing exactly what song it was, “and also we can’t forget Loco,” the crowd cheers some more as Right Here Right Now plays. “girl I so want to fly with you, maybe die with you, maybe drown with you, right here right now.”

the process. This was the final song and Christian joins him on the stage, crossing both sides to hype up the fans on the edges, holding out his hand to even shake a few lucky fans. LIVE soon jumps and stands against the barriers to the sounds of “DPR we gang gang” from the fans mere inches away from him. The music turns off and the crowd’s voices echo as they chant the final few notes of. LIVE grabs one of the phones from the crowd and takes a selfie before exiting the stage one last time. It was certainly an experience, seeing the crowd come to life, and to see DPR LIVE’s excitement in seeing such a turn out. It’s a shame that his performance lasted a mere forty-five minutes.

The lights dim, fades into a pale lilac and then deep violet and Jasmine starts playing. Released just a week before his London show, Jasmine sees DPR LIVE collaborate with producer CODE KUNST. LIVE smiles to the sounds of the crowd singing. This was the only song he sang completely; the rest were half unfinished before the next song played. “You know I can paint the world, sitting there in black and gold, you’re the perfect chemical, I gotta test, I gotta know.” The lights turn red, “Is there any day ones in here? Then you guys will know the next one right?” And with LIVE’s prompting, the crowd sings along: “God bless you mof***ers, Hate on me? I believe this s*** really, truly meant for me, Ima rap till I die mof***a, all on me,” Till I Die starts playing. And this was the last song of night, “but let’s make it count, okay let’s go!” The crowd cheers, LIVE exits. The crowd soon chants “DPR we gang gang” repeatedly and To Myself plays. LIVE returns to the stage wearing a cap, hiding half his face in 13


By Sophia Tang


Girls’ Generation 4th August 2017

4th August 2017


Wanna One

To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, the group came together for two highly anticipated comebacks with the songs ‘Holiday’ and ‘All Night’, as a part of their 6th full album, ‘Holiday Night’. ‘Holiday’ can be described as an ambient music video with an upbeat track and an energetic choreography, whilst in contrast ‘All Night’ was created with an electronic club beat. This contrasts the use of instruments within ‘Holiday’. The style can be described as more mature, with a retro-style setting. For an upbeat, cheery vibe, look towards ‘Holiday’, whilst on the other hand if you’re looking for something more mature and chill, ‘All Night’ is the one for you!

After their last comeback, the group returned 4 months later with ‘Island’ and ‘Love Me Love Me’ following the same title concepts of ‘Fool’ and ‘Really Really’ using a single word as a title, and a repeated phrase as their other title track. Both tracks were created with the influence of summer, and vary between their beat. Whilst one is an upbeat track, the other is a more relaxing, refreshing jam. Both of their leading tracks for their EP ‘Our Twenty Four’ are written by 3 of the WINNER members (Seungyoon, Seunghoon and Mino). If you’re looking for a summery EP to add to your summer playlist, ‘Our Twenty Four’ is the EP to go for!

For many fans of the Produce 101 S2 series, this debut was long-awaited. The group formed through the Produce 101 TV series, have been well-recognised by many listeners of Korea. The debut group, Wanna One released their first title track ‘Energetic’. For the fans, they had the opportunity to pick between two songs, with the latter known as ‘Burn It Up’. Their MV for ‘Energetic’ whilst showcasing a fun and playful concept also optimises their individual talents. As individuals they worked hard on the Produce 101 series to demonstrate their individual skills to prove to be the nation’s favourites.



Bobby (iKON)

7th August 2017

22nd August 2017

5th September 2017

14th September 2017

The former member of the popular JYP group, Wonder Girls came back with her second digital single ‘Gashina’. Sunmi who made a comeback after 3 years, released her new quirky track following her last release ‘Full Moon’ in 2014. For her latest release, Sunmi conveys a powerful concept in the likes of a ‘strong, independent woman’, proving to others that she can live without a man. Her care-free motions throughout the video show her nonchalant behaviour as she transitions to become a strong woman. The term ‘Gashina’ has several meanings: from ‘thorns’, to ‘why did you leave me’ to ‘woman’. These meanings are incorporated into her fierce concept, portrayed throughout the MV.

Last month, the group released their fourth studio album ‘The War’ along with their title track ‘Ko Ko Bop’ which surpassed their own record of presales, and became the fastest selling album of the time. Following the success, the group released their repackaged album ‘The War: The Power of Music’ leading to the release of their latest title track ‘Power’. Their latest release ‘Power’ is a fun concept which incorporates the idea of animation, fantasy and gaming all in one. The style of the track can be described as electro-house creating a dystopian, sci-fi vibe which accompanies well with the theme of the MV. Overall the track is catchy but rather contrasts ‘Ko Ko Bop’ with its chill, reggae-beat and indistinguishable MV concept.

Previously we have seen Bobby as a member of iKON, as ½ members of MOBB as well as the winning contestant of Show Me The Money Season 3. However, for many Bobby fans, the excitement elevated as he made his solo debut with his first full album, ‘Love and Fall’ with two title tracks ‘I Love You’ and ‘Runaway’. ‘I Love You’ can be described as summery bop, presented through illuminating bright colours of the summer season. With a hint of uniqueness making it very ‘Bobby’ the song is an upbeat, catchy tropical-house beat. In contrast, ‘Runaway’ has a more serious vibe, expressing feelings of isolation and loneliness. The track primarily focuses on a hip-hop vibe than ‘I Love You’, which strays away from the hip-hop feel of iKON’s concepts.



Stray Kids

18th September 2017

25th September 2017

6th October 2017

The group whom have received outstanding recognition worldwide made a comeback with their 5th album ‘Love Yourself: Her’. Their title track ‘DNA’, made them the first K-Pop boy group to make it within the list of the top viewed videos in 24 hours with over 21 million views. In preparation for their comeback the group worked together to create aesthetically pleasing highlight reels to showcase their new album concept. ‘DNA’ is a vibrant, upbeat track exhibiting a complex yet skilled choreography. The music style can trace aspects of dance funk as well as future bass. The track slowly develops as it progresses formulating a cohesive and addictive melody.

After nearly a year since their last comeback, the group released their 7th mini album ‘Rollin’’ followed by their title track named after their album. Their title track continues to showcase the usual B1A4 style which makes it unique to them. You can’t help but get the chorus stuck in your head whilst listening to ‘Rollin’. It’s a very soothing and chill song to add to your playlist! This is demonstrated just through the setting of the MV which is set in the outdoors with the nature and sea. Fun fact: The title track was entirely composed, arranged and written by B1A4’s leader, Jinyoung. Baro also assisted Jinyoung with the lyrics of ‘Rollin’.

A newly formed boy group, whom are currently trainees of JYP Entertainment, have produced their very own production known as ‘Hellavator’. The track was released in preparation for the trainee survival show also known as ‘Stray Kids’. The show will demonstrate the group’s teamwork and skills as they work together to complete various missions and activities with hopes to debut all together as a group. The track ‘Hellavator’ was produced by the group themselves, from the composition to the lyrics as well as the choreography. The group who went for a dark, mysterious concept accompanied their strong music piece with a powerful choreography to exemplify their unique skills.

10th October 2017

10th October 2017


Taemin (SHINee)

For their latest comeback, GOT7 released ‘You Are’ which was co-composed and co-written by GOT7’s leader, JB. The release of their album ‘7 For 7’ along with their title track, features numerous tracks which were written and composed by the members themselves. In contrast to past songs such as ‘Hard Carry’ and a rather abstract ‘Never Ever’ this song provides a very sentimental vibe. The track combines the likes of pop with EDM sounds, which is then accompanied by the MV’s scenic imagery. It results to a refreshing effect, making it suitable to play whilst cruising throughout the night. The cohesion of vocals and rap combine well together to create a heart-warming effect, particularly with the use of soothing harmonies optimised within the chorus.

Despite NU’EST going without a member due to Wanna One, the group came back as a new subunit, known as NU’EST W as they anticipate Minhyun’s return. The group who fought a hard-working battle on Produce 101 S2, proved their abilities and have drawn the attention of many new fans. As NU’EST W they released their first mini album ‘W, Here’ with their title track ‘Where You At’. The title track varies in its pace which makes it quite intriguing to listen to. Whilst it exemplifies and optimises the vocals where needs be, it also demonstrates a fierce rap accompanied by an EDM drop which unleashes the accompanying choreography. With the production value rising, the group who have overcome many obstacles have finally received the recognition they deserve.

The solo comeback which many Taemin fans have eagerly waited for, ‘Move’ was released as his title track of his 2nd full album of the same name. Taemin who is famous as a member of SHINee along with his amazing dance skills, exhibited a simplistic choreography yet smooth piece for his music video. His fans received a special treat as he released 3 different videos for his comeback: An MV and two additional performance videos, one solo and one duo performance video. The track can be described as a slow and sensual track, accompanied by the use of synth bass beats to build up the tension of the piece. Furthermore, Taemin is portrayed as an androgynous dancer in the MV, which goes against the ideology of gender forms, creating a rather interesting perspective in visuals.


16th October 2017



ove it or hate it, you can’t deny that the second season of “Produce 101” has gave birth to amazing artists - including Wanna One, the top eleven chosen during the show’s dramatic climax. However, as expected with the high-pressure survival show, a large number of talented trainees slipped through the net and didn’t make the cut. As the Final aired, fans already rallied together to back up the unfortunate contestants and began to forge their own version of Wanna One, featuring favourites who they believed were eliminated too soon.


Through that, JBJ were born. Originally supported by a large number of fans both domestic and international, it was built with the inspiration of the many “Produce 101” alumni projects. Following the popular I.B.I’s formation, JBJ (Just Be Joyful) was created with trainees who fell between ranks 20 and 30. Before long, the fan following grew with photoshopped album covers and group photos being shared online. It wasn’t long until companies noticed the demand and finally made it happen. With LOEN’s in-house support through FAVE Entertainment, their group debut was finally confirmed with the release of their mini-album, “Fantasy” in October.



Before their official formations, each trainee has been very busy promoting as individuals. Noh Tae Hyun and Kim Sang Gyun already have experience in the industry, both making a debut already in HOTSHOT and Topp Dogg. With the highest final show rank in the group, Kim Yongguk has also been working towards his own inevitable debut under the name Longguo. At the end of July, he also released the single “the.the.the” which is part of a project unit formed between him and fellow “Produce” labelmate, Kim Shihyun. Sole Japanese member, Takada Kenta has been the busiest of the bunch; being the first trainee in the entire show to release a drama soundtrack. Since his first song for “The Guardians”, he has been a favourite choice for Korean dramas as he has released many more since.


Joined by Kwon Hyun Bin and Kim Dong Han, JBJ has been going from strength to strength; promoting even before their debut through web variety shows and sell-out fan-meetings & tours across Asia. When it finally came to their official album release, success was inevitable. You just have to look at the reactions to understand the hype behind this group; with over 2.5 million views of their music video within the first week alone and a near-immediate line-up confirmation for this year’s Asia Artist Awards. Why would a simple project group create such an impact on fans? You just need to look at their first minialbum for proof. Unlike many boy groups this year, JBJ has stuck to their guns with an elegant, sensual image and powerful talents to match. “Fantasy” itself is a striking hit; blending hip-hop and electronic elements in a way to suit their image collectively and as individuals. With this as their first ever group release, fans are rest assured that they chose wisely and we can’t wait to see what else is to come from the fan-favourites who finally get their chance in the spotlight.

By Emma Alford




he boy group that’s been taking the world by storm hails from Big Hit Entertainment made their second comeback of the year with their 5th Mini Album ‘Love Yourself: Her’’ on September 18. With their second comeback of the year BTS had exceeded expectations and blew all their previous records out of the water. With the onslaught of support that BTS has been receiving for their recent comeback, it’s no surprise that their music has been coming out on top of various international charts and grabbing a staggering 73 #1’s – which even included the UK, making BTS the very first Korean group to steal that coveted number one spot. But of course, UK ARMY’s didn’t just stop there as the album went on to be the first to be featured in the UK’s Official Album Chart at #14 and stayed strong for two weeks! And this effort had clearly not gone unnoticed UK based radio stations such as The Hits and even BBC Radio 1 picking up ‘DNA’ to be played on a handful of occasions!

Since then, they’ve tried and break the mould of the typical generic K-pop group and drifted away from their previous concepts with ‘I Need You’ and ‘Run’, both songs helped in increasing recognition especially from their intricate storylines from the two music videos which inspired theories to be formed from fans to try and find a logical conclusion from the MV plots. In 2016, BTS’s international recognition grew even more rapidly with the releases of ‘Fire’ and ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’, with the first being released in ‘The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever’ and with the latter track being included in their ‘Wings’ album.

The boy group debuted back in 2013 with ‘No More Dream’, they showcased a more hip-hop orientated concept during that time. They followed up with ‘N.O’, which continued to challenge the social norm of inducing pressures onto teenagers of what they should do when they’re older. Even with ‘Boy in Luv’ in 2014, they’re put their own twist on the scenario of guys confessing their feelings to their crush. Instead of the cutesy image, they opted to go for a tougher, albeit aggressive angle which carried onto their first full album ‘Danger’.


BTS have been able to embark on world tours, branching outside of Asia to perform for their fans in many countries. And they’ve even been artists featured in various K-Con line-ups since 2014, and they made another appearance at K-Con Mexico in March! This is a clear indication that there is a demand for this group on an international scale and there is hope that one day, they’ll include the UK in their tour destinations!

As the group have already passed their 4th anniversary, the everexpanding records and milestones they break is just a testament to show that the cohesive workings between BTS and their dedicated fanbase ‘ARMY’ proves that anything can be possible, even for a K-Pop group from a company that many may not have been aware existed a few years prior. Now, the group have already become established as worldwide artists. The MV for ‘Not Today’ had broken their own record set from ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ by hitting 10 million views in 21 hours and 37 minutes but the music video for ‘DNA’ went and thrashed them all by reaching this milestone in eight hours. They’re definitely a group that keeps going from strength to strength, which is more than enough of a reason to feature BTS for our Idol Spotlight to finish the year off!


IDOL SPOTLIGHT BTS By Kristine Phillips



n interesting observation if you look through BTS’s discography, you can see their musical growth as artists since their debut in 2013. With their latest offering ‘DNA’ looks to be a serenade as the lyrics showers the listener with talk of how ‘fate’ brought you to them. Or perhaps, how fate brought ARMY’s to BTS? The group have received an abundance of love and support, especially within the last year, so they could have used the opportunity of their comeback to return it all back to their fans tenfold with their music. The track itself is pleasant on the ears and we can see how much of an

earworm this song is. It’s a softer shift from ‘Not Today’ and the boys still push 110% of their efforts into the colour explosive M/V and choreography, they keep repeating like a mantra in the lyrics about how fate brought their fans to them and by referring to DNA, which is a defined as being an unchangeable fundamental characteristic, in short that means that BTS and their fans will always be together. Special Mention – ‘Not Today’ The general vibe of the song looks like a follow-up from ‘Fire’, but contains a firmer message. There’s definitely an unapologetic sense to this song, that no matter what happens, regardless of whatever life may throw at them to try to set them off course—it won’t faze them, no not today. In the lyrics, it talks about if you can’t run, you walk, if you can’t walk, you crawl—and that could point to their own experiences of when they were at their lowest. When they didn’t think that their efforts were getting the recognition it should have been getting or if they felt disheartened if the goals they set out weren’t achieved, that must have crushed their spirits. But with this line, it really shows that they want to offer their support to their listeners, their fans to keep on going, no matter how difficult and challenging it is to go after their dreams, because hard work does prevail in the end. And that’s evident with BTS.

“All of this is not a coincidence The two of us found fate”





inter time means Christmas time, and there’s nothing like a good Christmas hit to get you feeling festive. We’ve put together 10 winter wonders to knock the bahumbug out of the most Scrooge amongst us. Dive in and check out our picks for this issue.

Taeyeon - This Christmas Taeyeon kicks off our list with her new song ‘This Christmas’, a gentle ballad that’s perfect for warming those winter nights.

Starship Planet - Christmas Day For something with a little more cheer, we’ve got Starship Planet’s ‘Christmas Day’. A happy and upbeat track with that festive magic feeling. Nothing says Christmas like a gettogether with your friends.

Zion.T - Snow ft Lee Munse Featuring legend Lee Munse, Zion.T’s ‘SNOW’ is the cool romantic Chrismas track we’ve all been looking for. With a cinematic MV and a great storyline, ‘SNOW’ is worth both watching and listening to.

Lovelyz - Twinkle


Inject a little sparkle to your holidays with ‘Twinkle’. Lovelyz’s song is a bright K-pop classic with a more fresh Christmas vibe.

Junggigo, Mad Clown, Yoo Seungwoo, Brother Su, Hyunseong, Kihyun Love Wishes Back to a relaxed vibe with “Love Wishes”, a brilliant collaborative effort by several great Korean artists. The RnB style track’s catchy chorus will have you singing along in no time.

Mamamoo - Memory The title track to Mamamoo’s fourth mini album is the perfect angelic, jazzy soundtrack to a cozy Christmas night.

TTS - Winter Story The Girls’ Generation trio are no strangers to a winter ballad, and ‘Winter Story’ does not disappoint. Accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and the occasional magical flourish TTS show off their vocal abilities beautifully in this track.

GOT7 - Confession Song Christmas bells back this festive love song, a must-listen over the festive season. The track is accompanied by a sweet MV that sees the GOT7 members surprise students and help one confess his feelings for a classmate.

BTOB - The Winters Tale ‘The Winters Tale’ has all the elements of a great boy-group ballad. To top off the snuggly, winter feel of the song, the members can be seen in the MV wearing disney-esque onsies.

Kanto - Before the snow ft As One As a refreshing contrast to the pop ballads, Kanto teams his deep rap tones with the angelic voices of labelmates As One for ‘Before the Snow’.



Answer the questions below to figure out who you should be snuggling up with this season!




A) Kimbap B) Fried Pork Cutlet C) Pizza D) Tacos E) Fruit

A) Cream Soda B) Chocolate Milk C) Beer D) Smoothie E) Water

A) Yellow B) Indigo C) White D) Black E) Sky Blue

Music Genre?

Ice Cream?

Movie Genre?

A) Jazz B) R&B C) Ballad D) Pop E) Hip-Hop

A) Melon B) Cookies & Cream C) Vanilla D) Mint Chocolate Chip E) Rocky Road

A) Comedy B) Adventure C) Sci-Fi D) Romance E) Action



You’ve got a free day and it’s perfectly snowy outside! What do you do with your snugglebug? A) Drink hot chocolate and make cute snow people B) Cuddle up inside and stay warm with your favorite movie C) Find the closest place to go skiing D) Bundle up to go ice skating E) Grab a coffee from a shop and watch the snow fall


A snowstorm hits and your power’s out! How do you spend the evening in with your snugglebug? A) Build a fire and play board games! B) Text all your friends to find the one who has power and go there. C) Evening in? Nope. Find the nearest computer cafe! D) Light a couple candles and read a book. E) Wrap up in a blanket burrito style and sleep it out.

You’re out while it’s snowing and your bus is late! What would you want your snugglebug to do to keep you warm? A) Wrap their arms around you and make you hop up and down with them B) Pull your hands into their coat sleeves and wiggle in C) Open up their jacket and let you in, bear-hug style D) Pick up your hands in theirs and exhale warm air them E) Take their coat, scarf, or mittens off and tuck you into into the warm fabric

It’s the present time of year! What type of gift would you like to receive from your snugglebug? A) Merchandise of your favorite cute character B) Gift basket of your favorite baked goods C) A personalized recording of them singing for you D) They always get you socks, but you love them so much E) A gift card you can use anywhere you want







Useful Winter Words



You can also describe the weather as cold by adding the word 날씨 (Nal-sshi) which means weather. 날씨 너무 추워요 (Nal-sshi Neo-mu Chu-wo-yo) – The weather is very cold.

동지 (DONG-JI) WINTER SOLSTICE This is longest night of the year, in 2017 동지 falls between December 21st and 22nd. On this night, It is traditional to eat a kind of red bean porridge called 팥죽 (Pat-juk) as it is believed that eating this dish will keep away harmful spirits.


눈 (NUN) SNOW It is common to see snow in the winter in the more northern parts of Korea such as Seoul! Other useful snow related words are 눈송이 (nunsong-i) which means ‘snowflake’ and 얼음 (eor-eum) which means ‘ice’.


CHRISTMAS You can simply say 메리 크리스마스 (Me-ri Keu-ri-seu-ma-seu) to your Korean friends to wish them a happy Christmas! Christmas is also sometimes called 성탄절 (Seong-tanjeol) so you can say 즐거운 성탄절 보내세요 (Jeul-geo-un Seong-tan-jeol Bo-nae-sae-yo) too!




Korea has 2 different new year days! 새해 is celebrated on the 1st of January and설날 (Seol-lal) is lunar new year, which falls on different days each year. In 2018, 설날 will be celebrated on February 16th and will welcome in the year of the dog.

Sadly winter is when many of us get sick due to the cold temperatures. Flu season is known as 독감의 계절 (Dok-kam-ui Gye-jeol) in Korean.

모자 (MO-JA) HAT 25


Fab Winter Festivals Heading to Korea this winter? Wrap up warm, get out there and enjoy these festivals like a local.

Bucheon Aiins World - World Nightview Fantasy Lighting Festival 부천 아인스월드 빛축제 - 세계야경 판타지 빛축제 Aiins World is an awesome theme park that’ll make you feel like a giant, as it’s a park full of small replicas of world famous monuments. A fun photo spot during the day, it’s also worth a wander at night, as this year its holds its second ‘World Nightview Fantasy Lighting Festival’. All the mini monuments are lit up with colour LEDs.

Located in Bucheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, the park is easily accessible via public transport. Dates: Running every night until Dec 31st. Admission: adults 16,000 KRW children 13,000 KRW. Access: Samsan Stadium Station (Seoul Subway Line 7), Exit 4 or 5. More info: (Korean only)

Bucheon Aiins World - World Nightview Fantasy Lighting Festival, year 2017.

Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival


영동곶감축제 Persimmons are a naturally sweet food that are great for your health, and the region of Yeongdong is ripe with them at this time of year. The largest fruit-producing center in Korea, it’s known as ‘the Holy Land of Fruit’, and hosts this annual festival. When a persimmon is peeled and sun-dried carefully by hand, it’s known as gotgam. Yeongdong gotgam are wellknown for their high nutritional value and sweet taste. The festival features various hands-on experience

programs, including persimmon peeling and hanging, gotgam harvesting, persimmon jam making and persimmon leaf footbaths. Dates: From 16th to 19th Dec. Admission: Free Access: From Seoul Station, take a train to Yeongdong (영동), then take a taxi to the festival venue, Yeongdong Gymnasium. More info: (Korean only)

Gwangju World Kimchi Festival 광주세계김치축제 No trip to Korea would be complete without kimchi, and Gwangju has a whole area of town dedicated to the famous preserved food. Get hands-on with cooking experiences, a kimchi-themed art gallery, a kimchi market, and more. Are you expert enough to tackle the Kimchi Master Competition? Give it a go participants can take home kimchi that they made themselves at the festival. Dates: Daily events until 10th Dec Admission: Free Access: From Yongsan Station or Seoul Station, take a train to Gwangju Station. From Gwangju Station, take bus Yongbong No. 83 or a taxi to Jungoe Park (중외공원). More info: (English available)

Seoul Design Festival 서울디자인페스티벌 A festival that’s been held annually for 15 years, Seoul Design Festival is managed by the monthly magazine DESIGN. The exhibition is centered on designers, rather than design products, making it a theme-oriented exhibition where designers express their creativity through experimental ideas. Look out for glassware by BMIX, paper products by Dongho So,

ceramics by Haam, and lighting art by Jeongseob Kim and Yoonna Eum. Dates: 7 Dec to 11 Dec Admission: 10,000 KRW, open 10.30am to 7pm (Last admission one hour before closing) Access: Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 or 6. COEX is directly connected to the station. More info: (Korean only)

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival 얼음나라 화천산천어축제

Ice fishing is an incredibly popular winter activity for many Koreans. Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, in Gangwon prefecture, is one of the country’s most popular events, with over a million visitors. There’s a special fishing zone for foreigners, so if you’ve always wanted to try trout ice fishing, lure fishing or bare-handed fishing, now is your chance! The area is blanketed in snow, so there’s also sledding, ice soccer, bobsleigh and other winter sports to try. The town of Seondeung also has a num-

ber of art and performance events running during the festival, or you can visit some other nearby events: Gangdongmyeon Town Baroparo Winter Festival, Sanaemyeon Town Dongsimsan Village Land and Sangseomyeon Town DMZ Dongdong Festival.

Access: From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Hwacheon. Hwacheon Stream and the festival grounds are about 10-min walk from the bus terminal. More info: (English available)

Dates: 6th Jan to 28th Jan 2018 Admission: varies by event, check the website 27






ingston Rudieska is a nine-piece ska and jazz outfit from Seoul. Though not the first city to come to mind when you say ‘Ska!’, there is a surprising, fanatical ska and reggae movement in the city. Kingston Rudieska stands proud as Korea’s ska pioneers, fronting the scene with enthusiasm since 2004.

The group brought ‘FeastSka’, as they refer to their creation, to London to perform as part of the K-Music Festival 2017. Taking to the stage at Borderline they professed their love of London, the BBC show ‘Peaky Blinders’, Ska, and their fans all around the world.

Kingston Rudieska is heavily influenced by the first-wave of Jamaican ska, as well as the Caribbean sounds of reggae and calypso. A great respect for The Skatalites sees them frequently cover the music of the band. Their instrumental arsenal is vast; fronted by four horns their soulful sound packs a punch as it combines their influences in a jazz-rooted, foot-stomping, word-clever musical feast for the ears. /rudieska2004

In a venue smaller than their larger-than-life sound deserved, Kingston Rudieska didn’t disappoint. Ska as a genre promises fun, and this is what they delivered. Their rhythmic sounds evoking an impressive response from their audience of fans, new and old. If you’re looking for something a little different to spin at your festive parties, look no further than Kingston Rudieska. There is no group better equipped to get partygoers on their feet and onto the dancefloor. These Korean ska pioneers get our seal of approval.




Make your own...



Chestnuts roasting on an open fir

n re.. .


oasted chestnuts are a holiday tradition in many countries and cultures. They’re in songs and novels and everything warm and Wintery. South Korea absolutely loves chestnuts, cooked in different ways, but the simple roasted chestnut is almost as common as the beloved roasted sweet potato during Winter in South Korea. If you want to know what the craze is about, you can follow this simple recipe! All you need to make it is however many chestnuts you want to use!

Directions: 1)

Set chestnuts on their flat side and use a small paring knife to make an X across the top of the chestnut. The X releases the air and keeps the chestnut from exploding while cooking.

2 Put them in a pot with a shallow

amount of water (so the chestnuts are just barely not covered) and let them boil for about 10 minutes. Cover with a lid halfway through.


Some people eat them boiled, unroasted, but for the classic look and flavor, put them in the oven at

about 218 celsius (425 fahrenheit) for 5-10 minutes.

4 That’s it for cooking them!

Now you peel them with whatever you’re most comfortable with (they’re very hot, so be careful.) Tip: Start from the X back, the cuts come in handy here.

Our Experience: This was our first time tasting roasted chestnuts and they were honestly a little overwhelming. They have a very savory/meaty scent and it comes through in the taste as well. We can definitely see why South Koreans (national lovers of pork) have a fondness for these gamey little treats. If you like savory + sweet combinations, you’ll love these! The texture is crumbly and spongy. We tried them with honey, sugar, salt, and lastly candied. The honey was most suited to the taste of the nut to us, but any of them can be yummy depending on your preferences! If you try this recipe out, UKP would love to hear about your experience with it. Let us know all about it on our website, Facebook, or Twitter! Happy holidays, and happy cooking!



Mini red umbrellas make the perfect santa hats!

WHITE Taeyang’s latest record, just like this drink, is smooth. But, it’s definitely not boring with that kick from the ginger ale. The perfect drink for a bright winter’s day. 4 ounces pear juice 2 ounces lemonade 2 ounces ginger ale Combine the pear juice and lemonade over ice in a glass and then add the ginger ale. CHERRY BOMB Frozen yogurt offers the same smoothness and sweetness as ice cream, but with less calories – perfect for those watching their weight! The incredible cherry flavour reminds us of the NCT track which this drink shares. Yum. 1 scoop cherry frozen yogurt 4 ounces cream soda 5 maraschino cherries, plus 2 ounces of juice from the jar Splash of milk


Put the ingredients in a blender with a handful of ice and blend to desired consistency. ISLAND Do you want the summer back? WINNER’s song ISLAND gives off those holiday vibes, as does this tropical, Pina-colada styled drink. Take a sip and be transported off to a different place! 5 ounces pineapple juice 2 ounces coconut cream 1 banana Add the ingredients and a handful of ice to a blender. Blend until smooth.

RUM-PUM-PUM-PUM-PUM CL’s getting dumb off the rum, and with this recipe, you can drink the spirit too, but with a fun wintery twist! Try nutmeg instead of cinnamon too, for a little kick. 1 ounce light rum ½ ounce coffee liqueur 2 ounces light cream Ground cinnamon to taste Combine the rum and coffee liqueur over ice. Pour cream on top and sprinkle cinnamon on top. POUR UP An easy drink to pour up, and one we can imagine Dean himself sipping on! 3 ounces grapefruit juice 1 ½ ounces rye whiskey Pour the ingredients over ice and stir – simple! FIRETRUCK With the hot sauce and tequila combination, you may need a firetruck to extinguish the fire in your throat. It’s one way to warm yourself up in the cold winter. 1 ½ ounces tequila 2 drops hot sauce 1 dill pickle

WINTER COCKTAILS Warm up this winter with a Kpop f lare It may be cold outside, but there’s no reason not to try and keep your soul warm with a festive get-together and drinks to match. We’ve got alcoholic drinks for all you adults that like a responsible tipple, as well as some non-alcoholic mocktails that are sure to tickle your fancy too!


Please drink responsibly, for further information please visit 33






Jan 29th_ London, UK Jan 31st_ Paris, France Feb 2nd_ Warsaw, Poland Feb 3rd_ Cologne, Germany 35


yung-gil Jung’s The Villainess (2017) is a slick, highenergy thriller that revels in unfettered violence. Recently screened at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, the film was revered by audiences for its inventive action sequences and compelling story.


The story follows Sook Hwe (Kim Ok Bin), a ruthless assassin, who was raised as a killer by her mentor-turnedhusband, Joong Sang (Shin Ha Kyun). She is eventually taken in by the secret service and refashioned as one of their own agents. Sook Hwe also gets tangled in an unexpected romance with her affable next-door neighbor (Sung Joon)— whose involvement further complicates the plot, unbeknownst to Sook Hwe. In some respects, the story shares a likeness with Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Yet, Byunggil Jung brings some nuances to the genre, most notably through the action sequences. Within the first few minutes of the opening sequence, you are seized by the relentless carnage that bursts onto the screen. The use of point-of-view shots and fish-eye lens effects, creates a more visceral experience for the viewer. It isn’t for passive viewing, but instead makes the viewer feel as if they’re participating in the violence and are unable to look away. The

lengthy fight scenes are reminiscent of Park Chan Wook’s Oldboy (2003), but seeing them through a series point-of-view shots makes them even more enthralling. Initially, I was weary of the film’s melodramatic elements because it had the potential to become rather cliché. However, the melodrama adds depth to Sook Hwe’s character and strips away the steely exterior she initially presents. Byung-gil Jung subjects his heroine to endless misfortune and Kim Ok Bin’s performance sells every part of it. The archetypal femme fatale character can often be one-dimensional and unsympathetic, but The Villainess manages to make the audience empathise with Sook Hwe and ultimately root for her. I credit this to Kim Ok Bin’s acting, as she captures Sook Hwe’s complex character perfectly. Overall, The Villainess is a solid action-thriller and will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout. I admit that the POV shots were at times disorienting, but they stylised what could have been an otherwise unoriginal sequence. The Villainess deserves as much attention as recently acclaimed films to come from Korea such as, Train to Busan (2016). I imagine that Hollywood is already coveting the project, in hopes of making a remake— so be sure to watch it before they do!


By Ann Amarawansa


dancing is my job, and pretty Best known as one of the biggest Korean choreographers worldwide, Bongyoung Park, a Korean dancer and choreographer is a highly recognised icon amongst dancers. From producing his very own choreographies to a range of songs, to collaborating with famous stars to assist in their productions. The man who has travelled around the worldwide to perform has learnt to dance from several cities such as Seoul, Paris as well as LA!

much my life so it’s We spoke to Bongyoung Park regarding his dance career as well as his particular experience in London, where he held a dance workshop in collaboration with LoKo, as well as a Housecon Hangout experience for his fans.




By Sophia Tang

working hard at CHOREOGRAPHER


/bongyoung_park /LoverBYP

When did you start dancing and how did you start? I started dancing when I was 19. I was an actor and started doing ballet and jazz for a musical. But I started up as a professional dancer when I was 22. I watched many YouTube dancers who did a great job in making art without having lots of staff, lots of tech as well as stage. If they have a body, friends and some music, they can make art and convey emotions. I started following them, leading me to start dance. Apart, from dancing, what else are you passionate about? I mean dancing is my job, and pretty much my life so it’s something I must keep working hard at to sustain a good lifestyle. Otherwise… sleeping? [laughs] Probably, eating and sleeping. [laughs] What’s your favourite type of music to choreograph to? And do you have specific artists’ songs that you prefer to choreograph to? My favourite style would have to be R&B. I have many favourite artists but it just depends on the music itself. I’m not too concerned really, since I focus more on following the actual music of the artist than the artists themselves. If the music provides me with something that I think will work as a choreography, I will choose to dance to it. Where do you get your inspirations for your choreographies? Just from listening to the music. If I hear a piece of music then I can imagine the movements. I would just imagine everything and then just move.

So far, what’s your favourite choreography that you produced? Who would you most like to collaborate with if you had the opportunity to do so? I think my favourite choreography would definitely have to be Me Like Yuh by Jay Park! And if I had to choose, I would like to dance with GD from BIGBANG! You’ve partnered with many of the 1Million choreographers, who has been your favourite to pair with? Is #MayBong still a thing? My favourite partner has to be May J because she’s very easy to work with. But unfortunately, we don’t have much time within our schedules to practice, so I don’t know when we will be able to do another choreography together. For some of your choreographies, you wore heels for your performances. How did you train to perform in heels and what inspired him to wear them for your performances? I trained in heels to teach as I found many girls wanted to have heel training themselves, so I decided to learn for them. I would just make a choreography with heels and wear heels and start practicing movements. But regarding my training, I went to Paris and met up with some teachers and went to some classes, that’s all really.

So, regarding your plans in London, how did you feel about the workshop? And how does it feel to be working with LoKo? Before the workshop, my priority was to be able to meet many dancers and many fans. I wasn’t expecting much since I was just here to teach, meet my fans and to make sure my fans had a great day. I was just hoping that they would love it. Working with LoKo they prepared so many things for me for the event, so the event was so cool and the fans loved the activities planned. The only thing I had to fault about the event was that it was so short I wish that I had more time! If I’m honest, my condition wasn’t perfect for teaching but I still tried to do my best. Maybe, next time we can prepare more fun activities to do with the fans. I think I need to grow and develop, and LoKo will too, so hopefully we can do this again as this was great! Any last words for your fans in the UK? Thank you to all my fans who attended the event, I hope you enjoyed it! I hope we can meet again in London very, very soon! Actually… It was too short for my liking, I wish that it could have been more longer, but it was great! Overall, it seems like Bongyoung enjoyed his time in London very much. So much so, he took the opportunity to film a personal vlog of his time in London which can be found on his personal YouTube channel. However, Bongyoung has decided to focus motre on his own brand, taking on a solo route. He has previously mentioned that in the future, he hopes to develop upon his brand. With ‘The Housecon’ experience underway, Bongyoung continues to promote and venture onwards around the world to host masterclass collaborations on an international scale. 39

oraebang (노래방 or song/ singing room) is South Korea’s often lavish version of karaoke. If you’re new to K-Pop and Korean culture, or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ve probably witnessed noraebang already, whether your favorite band member had a fun anecdote or it came up during a scene in a drama you were watching, noraebang are a nearly essential part of South Korean life, and a fun one at that. Who hasn’t wanted to try one of these rooms?



Noraebang are extremely versatile when it comes to taste, quality, and expense, but they all have one factor in common: you book a private room for yourself or you and your friends and family, you get a TV, microphone(s), and tons of songs to sing along with. You can book a private room for as little as £3/$5 for an hour of singing your heart out with thousands of songs to choose from, up to £19/$25 an hour to have a wider selection, drinks, snacks, and other amenities, and up to hundreds of pounds/dollars to have high-end service, alcohol, meals, fruit platters, and more elaborate “stage” set up. (Which means lots of fancy light work and better speakers.) But why are noraebang so popular? What is it about them that brings drunken groups of friends or coworkers together? Or whole families spending the day out? There are noraebang on almost every street in Seoul for a reason; they’re a real

and vibrant part of living your life in South Korea. If I had to venture a guess, it would be that singing is seeped into their lives in an immensely integral way. Music is an important part of every culture, but most South Koreans have a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of their musical pop culture and at least a handful of nostalgic songs they’d pay money to sing along with. Combine this with their societal appreciation of family (and don’t forget drinking!) and you get the perfect recipe for making noraebang a favorite pastime in South Korea. Singing rooms are also well known as de-stressers, a way for you to shake off the weight of the work week or whatever else is wearing you out. It’s a sweet notion to me that when someone in South Korea needs to relieve stress they literally sing their blues away. There are establishments that are quite private and quiet (kudos to the soundproofers) that you can go to book a noraebang and spend as much time as you need, or can pay for, to just sing by yourself. I’ve seen this used in dramas when the lovelorn protagonist had nowhere else to go, so they visited a noraebang and whittled away the day with beer and snacks and their favorite heartbreak songs. I’ve got to admit, the idea is compelling and I’m sure a private place where you can have no fear of embarrassment is a universally sought after fantasy. Just as gratifying as noraebang can be for the singular person, you’ll

see them more often with groups of people, for many of the reasons stated above. Jamming out to your favorite songs with food, drinks, and good company? South Koreans have definitely picked a great activity to be their go-to wind down (or even the main event!) for an evening out. It’s a far cry different from how we see stress relief in Western countries. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of much that we consider therapeutic activities, especially in a group. Most cultures use alcohol to some extent - hitting the bars and forgetting your life for a bit, but it’s almost never in the healthier, more communal way that you see for friends, family, and especially businesspeople (you definitely don’t see many coworkers hugging and singing with ties wrapped around their heads after work in Western countries), that you see in Asian countries. Noraebang create a safe place to de-stress and let go, and I honestly can’t think of a Western counterpart that is anywhere near as wholesome. Noraebang get business all year and there’s never a shortage in people wanting to book rooms, and the holidays are no exception! Friends and family will hit the singing rooms during the cold months for some warm musical fun, but going out with your friends or colleagues on a holiday can seem like a sad affair to the romantically single participants. Unlike in the UK and the US, where Winter holidays like Christmas are huge family events, in South Korea (and Japan)

Christmas is seen as a romantic holiday. New Year’s is seen more romantic to us but in South Korea and Japan, it’s the opposite and I’ve always found that fascinating. For example, I’ve seen people on variety shows, like Happy Together, talking about how embarrassed they were when people found out that instead of spending the day with their nonexistent significant other, they were with their friends in a noraebang, singing ballads and drinking the night away. That doesn’t mean that noraebang aren’t a perfectly great way to spend a holiday, but for singles noraebang are not the happiest place to end up. I think it sounds awesome, but hey, each culture has their thing. On that note I’d like to add that 방 (bang, or room) have a huge culture of their own in South Korea. You can find a “bang” of just about everything: games, books, cats, dogs, dancing, coffee, different varieties of food and drinks, or even medicinal rooms for healing and massage. There really is a “room” for whatever your heart desires, and singing just happens to be one of the most commonly known in South Korea! If you’d like to know more about the different bang in South Korea, or have your own experiences or desires you’d like to share about Noraebang, let us know on our UKP website, Facebook or Twitter! We’d love to hear from you.

BY LOCKE KAITO DISCLAIMER: Everything stated in this article only reflects my views - separate from UKP and anyone who may have been mentioned in the article. 41


Niki & Sammy: K-pop’s International Reach


The story of how we got into K-pop is quite simple. But what dark forces has South Korea enlisted for the genre to spread like a wildfire of catchy synths, fun visuals, and undeniable talent... We heard about it on twitter.

“It’s difficult, as YouTubers, to express an interest in something so popular...”

Follow us on Twitter!

One word. Shinee. We’ll give you another 2: Lee Taemin. We’d spotted a bunch of twitter followers with the same (ridiculously good looking) Korean man as their profile picture. So we decided to investigate. We found out that this man was called Taemin and he was part of a fivepiece: SHINee. One very short and very slippery slope later and I found myself watching “SHINEE BEST DANCE” compilations on YouTube and scouring Spotify for any semblance of this newly discovered “K-pop” genre. Lucifer by SHINEE became our anthem (which is something we’ve heard from lots of other people, too). By combining the archetype traits of 3rd gen K-pop with the ideals seen in 4th gen (which has brought the genre more in line with Western pop) SHINee appeal to a wide range of listeners and get people hooked for life. It was weird. As teenagers we’d typically steered clear from what I thought was ‘trashy pop’ - lacking substance, over-produced, cheesy. Now, at the age of 25, I was intrigued by a genre of music which, on the surface, encompasses all of these things… But how wrong we were. K-Pop unites every element of successful pop music, but it does, so fluidly, that listening to it is a breeze. That’s the hook. It was fun. Something we were struggling to find in the UK charts.

‘Don’t you need to know what they’re saying?’ When I was growing up, no one gave a damn about what Enrique Iglesias was saying in his latest glossy pop-hit... and do I even need to mention Justin Beiber’s latest hit, Burrito? (Just kidding.) But what songs like Despacito and Little Mix’s Reggaetón Lento have taught us is that sure, lyrics are important, but music is a universal language (and google translate is your best friend). Since discovering K-pop, we’ve developed our personal favourites; Sammy’s favourite groups include Monsta X, KARD, GOT7; Niki’s favourites include SHINee, BlackPink, BlockB... However, one band we both enjoy is BTS. It’s difficult, as YouTubers, to express an interest in something so popular, no matter how authentic the sentiment is. There is a stigma attached to it, mainly because we’ve all seen YouTubers jump on trends before - but our obsession is genuine. The ARMY is perhaps the most impressive and intense fandom we’ve ever come across. We’ve had some run-ins with them (whenever we tweet them, fans run to ‘protect’ them from verified accounts) but we’ve come to realise that their comments come from a good place with good intentions. And that’s the crux of this article- the K-pop fandom, as a whole, is a good and

diverse place sharing a common interest and raising each other up. We went to our first K-Pop concert at the beginning of this year; BlockB at the Troxy, London. It was the diversity in the audience- not just ethnicity, but age and gender too - which really surprised us. A large majority of the audience were teenage girls but there were older fans too (hey, even if they were parents, they rocked that light stick like it was no one’s business.) This is what is so impressive - pop music with lyrics in a language that, let’s be honest, none of us in the UK are fluent in, can bring so many people from different walks of life together. In a world that currently feels like it’s falling apart (let’s just blame Trump), there is something special in the togetherness promoted by K-pop. K-Pop is fun and sometimes that’s all that matters. It’s non-offensive, it’s international, and it’s here to stay.

Niki and Sammy are twin Youtubers and presenters from the UK. They are currently doing a ‘Non K-pop fans react to K-pop for the first time’ Youtube series. To write a guest article for UnitedKpop, contact Lerah at 43

Places to visit in Korea

December in Korea is when temperatures reach a low point but many festivities also take place in the month. But as many of you may be taking a trip to December during your Christmas break or just for a pleasurable trip, we’ve compiled together a range of activities to befit your needs.

“If you want to go to an ice rink home to many concerts and music productions; you can attend the MBC Sangam Ice Rink”



f you’re looking for an ambient vibe to prepare yourself for the Christmas spirit, attending one of the many Korean theme parks is the way to go! Lotte World is a fun-filled amusement park which provides indoor experiences as well as outdoor ones. The indoor section of the amusement park, known as Lotte World Adventure is divided into 4 main floors. From kids rides such as bumper cars to thrilling rollercoasters such as the ‘French Revolution’ which spins 360 degrees, going through numerous buildings – be prepared to stand in a long queue, there’s a line for a reason! For more wintery experiences, the Lotte World Adventure park also includes an indoor ice rink located on the bottom floor, and if you’re lucky to be around, you may see the amazing Christmas parade. The parade is a festive experience, entertaining audiences of all ages. You can’t help but stop and watch! But if you are looking to go for an outdoor ice skating experience, you can go to Seoul Plaza located in City Hall which offers you the opportunity for cheap and enjoyable ice-skating. Priced at 1,000₩ an hour (including skate rental fee), the ice rink also offers a more child-friendly alternative with a smaller rink as well safety helmets free of charge for children. There are also are a range of other ice rinks which differ in pricing. If you want to go to an ice rink home to many concerts and music

productions; you can attend the MBC Sangam ice rink. If you’re lucky you may be able to overhear some of your favourite artists performing whilst you skate! Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more luxurious skating experience, you can check out the Grand Hyatt Seoul ice skating rink. The ice rink is known as one of the most beautiful ice rinks on Namsan. It has largely been featured on numerous Korean TV commercials and dramas as well as notably being a perfect date spot for couples, or to enjoy winter sporting activities with family and friends. On the other hand, another popular amusement park, Everland also offers some wintery experiences! The park also remains seasonally relevant to fit their customers, and for the winter season offer an exciting sledging experience. Their huge sledging hill named ‘The Snowbuster’ offers you the opportunity to trek up slopes, sledging down and around as well as the accompanying snow included for that added winter effect. If you’re not bothered to trek up the slopes, there’s always the option of using the tube lift, and for even the laziest of people, there’s the option to relax at the heated lounges which sell a variety of refreshments. For foreigners, using is the best option for receiving discounts on amusement park deals!

December Edition If you want to go all out for winter, why not try out Korea’s one and only winter amusement park! One Mount Snow Park located on the outskirts of Seoul in Ilsan, is an indoor winter theme park incorporating a range of entertainment programs with snow and ice. From ice bowling to rides, be prepared to wrap up warm and prepare yourself to have an exhilarating experience. Furthermore, you may recognise the indoor theme park if you watched one of BTS V-Live videos! They took up challenges at the One Mount Snow Park for their ‘Run BTS!’ series. So, if you’re willing to make a day trip outside of Seoul, then One Mount Snow Park may be the perfect place for you! However, if you’re looking for a full-on ski experience, Pyeongchang may be just the place! The county of Korea offers you a winter experience in skiing. Pyeongchang is recognised for its various Buddhist temples as well as its ski resort, known as Alpensia resort. The resort which has six slopes for skiing, and runs up to 1,400 km, will also be the main focus for the outdoors sports in the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2018. PS: If you read the UKP Summer E-Mag, you may remember that Jang Hanbyul also recommended Pyeongchang for its skiing! Moving away from leisure, Korea in December is also great for trying out some Winter cuisines. Myeongdong is famous for having a street just for Korean street food. It is recommended to try out some customary snacks, ranging from roasted chestnuts (군밤), to baked sweet potatoes (‘군’고구마), as well as odeng with broth (오뎅) which can be described as a fishcake skewer – a popular snack to help keep you warm in the cold weather. Another popular snack which is particularly

common amongst the locals is hotteok (호떡). Hotteok is a hot sweet snack with a sugary, gooey centre. With the similarities to a doughnut, the cheap, sweet snack helps ward away the winter chills. Straying away from street food, stews otherwise known as jjigae (찌개) are another great cuisine for winter. They come in many varieties and are offered on the street or nearby in local restaurants. If you’re a big fan of spicy food, the soondubu jjigae (순두부 찌개) otherwise known as spicy tofu stew will provide you with a heated experience that will certainly keep your insides warm. Meanwhile, you may be looking for a more calming and relaxing experience whilst you’re in Korea, so why not try out the bathhouses! The Korean traditional bathhouses otherwise known as jimjilbang (찜질방) are a particularly popular amongst Korean locals, and have been incorporated into contemporary Korean culture. The bathhouses are divided into sections, one for the baths and one for the sauna. The baths are same-sex only, whilst the saunas are communal. This allows you to have your own personal space and a relaxing experience with those of the samesex, whilst the saunas will allow you to get together with your friends of both sexes to converse. You may recognise the use of jjimjilbangs in Korean dramas, where you see the actors get together with their towels on their heads and cotton pyjamas. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced for what you get – and if you’re feeling tired after your soothing experience, you can sleep in the assigned sleeping rooms! For historical lovers, you can take the chance to experience a magical opportunity by visiting the palaces. If you’re looking to feel

like the protagonist of a historical Korean drama, why not opt to parade in a traditional hanbok whilst entering the palaces. There are many available hanbok fitting places which allow you to try on hanboks for a set number of hours before returning them. By entering the palaces in traditional hanboks, you can receive free admission. It is a rather authentic experience wearing a hanbok, and despite how they may look, the hanboks can keep you very warm despite the chilly weather in December. The setting of the palaces in the winter season have a glistening effect, perfect for those Instagram photo opportunities. Moreover, as a historical fan, the tour guides provided offer a very interesting perspective about the history of Korea in relation to the palaces. There are five royal palaces available for you to access: Gyeongbukgung, Changdeokgung, Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeonghuigung. Of course, as K-POP fans you want to opt for the optimal experience in Korea. December is the month best known for its end of year shows from SBS, to MBC to KBS. With so many artists in one place it would be a missed opportunity not to see at least one! It can be rather difficult to attend the show as a foreigner; however, some sites do provide you with opportunities to watch music shows. Examples include: Trazy which offers you the opportunity to pay to attend ‘The Show’, as well as the Korea Tourism Organisation Facebook page who usually offer music show tickets for free through Facebook posts. Also, Interpark is a great ticketing site to look for great concerts and musical opportunities. With their English site for foreigners, it makes the site easily accessible to the public. 45

TRENDING TOPICS 2017 Some of the buzzwords lighting up the news headlines this year for Korea and Kpop fans.

#MBCSTRIKE While one or two have announced a return, some popular variety, music and drama shows are still on hiatus as writers, producers and programmers are striking over censorship by the top bods at their TV news agencies during the Park corruption scandal.

By Donna Sheffield

#FICTIONBECOMESFACT Drama fans rejoiced when the lead couple from drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Lee Sungkyung and Nam Joohyuk, announced they were dating in real life. Alas, the romance didn’t last - but they’re still good friends.

#BTSGOGLOBAL A real crowning achievement for Kpop and of course, their loyal ARMY, BTS won the Top Social Artist award at the prestigious Billboard Music Awards in May. The award followed a successful global launch of their album Wings and a sold-out run of arena shows.

#NU’ESTRISEAGAIN After their heartbreaking appearance but determination to work hard on Produce 101, the flagging Pledis boys NU’EST completely revived their group, won the hearts of new fans, and scored their first number one hit in Korea with Where You At.


#DOGBITESCEO The Korean government is now revising dog ownership laws, after Choi Siwon’s dog bit a restaurant CEO, who later died due to an infection in hospital. The Super Junior member has given an apology via SNS, but netizens are not impressed.

#FINEDUST Air pollution has been growing steadily worse in Seoul, with government issued warnings of smog on the same level as Beijing and Delhi some days. This year there’s been a growing trend of special phone apps to measure the daily pollution, and wearing face masks to avoid inhaling the invisible but deadly nanoparticle known as PM2.5.

#MISSILETESTS North Korean missile tests continued and escalated this year, increasing tension in the peninsula and hitting the international headlines week after week. Some controversial anti-missile equipment known as THAAD has been installed in Seoul, and two missiles were shot over (and visible from) Japan.

#MOONJAE-IN After president Park Geun-hye was kicked out of the Blue House due to corruption scandals, a new president was elected in May. Moon Jae-In is a former human rights lawyer and chief of staff to a previous president, Roh Moo-hyun. He’ll hold the office for 5 years.

#GGSPLIT Three members of Girls’ Generation - TIffany, Sooyoung and Seohyun - didn’t renew their contracts with SM Entertainment, despite celebrating their tenth anniversary with the legendary girl group this year. The three are said to be pursuing acting work, and Tiffany will leave Korea.

#SLIME IU became obsessed with it - and she wasn’t the only one. The toy slime craze spread from America to Korea, reawakening the inner child in many adults.

#BLACKFACE Girl group Mamamoo made a public apology after they realised donning dark ‘blackface’ makeup in a video tribute to Bruno Mars was highly offensive.

#TOPTROUBLE Big Bang’s T.O.P had to quit his military service in the Gangnam police force after testing positive for weed. After an investigation, he admitted to smoking it at home with a female idol trainee, Han Seo Hee.

#WANNAONE MNet’s Produce 101 Series 2 - featuring boy trainees this time - dominated TV and music charts in Korea this year, and the final 11 formed boy group Wanna One. The show has spawned several similar reality/group audition shows, such as The Unit and Idol School. 47


he Kpop world is mourning the loss of SHINee’s Jonghyun after the 27 year old singer-songwriter made the devastating decision to take his own life on December 18th. Kim Jonghyun has played an important and prominent role in the rise and continuation of Korean Pop since his debut in SM Entertainment’s second generation group SHINee in 2008. From the opening bars of the group’s debut track ‘Replay’, Jonghyun’s talent was evident for all to see. His vocal strength, even as a teenager, looked set to rival the resident vocal power-houses of SM, and Jonghyun was only just getting started. Securing themselves the Newcomer Album of the Year award at the 23rd Golden Disk Awards, SHINee looked set to scale the heights of stardom and they didn’t disappoint. SHINee’s second album, ‘Lucifer’, saw the group win the first in a succession of Best Dance Performance Awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.


Later in the year Jonghyun joined the first incarnation of SM’s project group S.M. The Ballad, alongside Jay of TRAX, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, and trainee Jino (No longer with SM, now a member of Pentagon). Through this project Jonghyun was allowed the freedom to push his vocal skills alongside similarly strong vocalists - cementing his position as a talent to be reckoned with in Kpop. Jonghyun would later be the only member to return to the project group in 2014. SHINee became the first Kpop group to visit the UK in 2011, with a visit to Abbey Road Studios that drew a crowd of several hundred. Only months later they returned to play an the Leicester Square Odeon for the London Korean Festival, a performance that sold out in thirty minutes and crashed the Odeon server.

In 2013, following SHINee’s album ‘Everybody’ the band earned recognition as ‘Artist of the Year’ at the MelOn Music Awards, a title many thought was long overdue the group. SHINee, and Jonghyun, would continue to go from strength to strength musically.

No matter his accomplishments it must be acknowledged that Jonghyun had clearly struggled immensely with his mental health. No matter how well someone may appear physically, how happy they may appear outwardly, things may not be ‘okay’.

“As we pause to remember Jonghyun it is important to remember others who feel the same darkness he did” Jonghyun’s journey as a solo artist began in 2015, with his debut album releasing to critical acclaim, critics praising his participation in the creation of the album and his collaborations outside of his company through work with artists such as Zion T and Wheesung. Jonghyun’s list of accomplishments doesn’t just lie in singing. As a songwriter Jonghyun is credited on an impressive seventeen SHINee tracks, as well as songs by bandmate Taemin, Lee Hi (the first official collaboration between artists from SM and YG), IU and EXO. He also penned fourty of his own solo songs, this gaining him recognition by the Korea Times as one of the four Kpop musicians to have distinguished themselves from the mass-produced singers in the idol industry (alongside G-Dragon, Zico and Jinyoung). In his musical career, as a member of a group and solo artist, Jonghyun won an impressive sixty-one awards (of eighty-six nominations), and achieved sixty-seven music show wins. He released a book, hosted a radio show, and became a noted follower of fashion and trend setter with the help of SHINee stylist Ha Sang Beg.

As we remember Jonghyun, whose life was so full it is hard to give him all the credit he deserves, it is important to remember others who share some of the darkness Jonghyun felt. The help and support of family and friends is vital to improving mental health issues such as depression - don’t be afraid to ask questions, offer help and support, or simply listen. For someone suffering from depression or other mental health issues do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression can creep up on you and silently eat away at you - but help is available 24/7 to all who require it. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. Samaritans helplines are open 24/7, including over the Christmas period. Other international suicide helplines can be found at You can donate to Mental Health research and support through charities such as Mind.

by Lore Walsh


t r a Fan r e n Cor


by Sidra Rahman Twitter @siddy30 Instagram @sidrathesloth


by Sidra Rahman


by Ari Bradburry Twitter @monimu_


Instagram @monimu_

JUNGKOOK, BTS by Natalia Mey Instagram @nat.creative


by Laura Ruboczki Twitter @yoonra01

BAEKHYUN, EXO by Laura Ruboczki

Instagram @_yoonra_

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The humble jumper dress – a common item for many a winter wardrobe. On the cover of the magazine, we see singer IU showing us how this piece of clothing can be as stylish and cute as it is comfortable and warm. Jumper dresses come in a large variety of colours and styles, meaning that finding one that suits your tastes is quite easy. Of course, one of the biggest plus sides to these dresses is that they can keep you warm and comfortable as well as giving you some feminine style.



You can go all in and show your Christmas spirit with the traditional reindeer and snowflake pattern, or you can go for a more understated look with block colours (meaning you can also wear it outside of the Christmas period). Jumper dresses are also very versatile, you can pair them with tights, leggings and even a pair of jeans. There is likely something sitting in your wardrobe right now that would make a great match. So what are you waiting for? Go forth and embrace the jumper dress this winter season! 53

Santa, please... Check out our Korean cosmetic must-haves for the festive season. Brilliant stocking fillers for the K-cosmetics lover in your life.
























Vote now!




"Really Really" (WINNER) "Not Today" (BTS) "As If It's Your Last" (Blackpink) "Untitled 2014" (G-Dragon) "LOVE" - Dean

"You Never Walk Alone" (BTS) "Rose" (B.A.P) "Kwon Ji Yong" (G-Dragon) "Palette" (IU)

"Spring Day" (BTS) "Wake Me Up" (B.A.P) "Goodbye" (2NE1) "Untitled" (G-Dragon)



BTS EXO Seventeen

Blackpink Twice Red Velvet

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR KARD Wanna One NCT 127 Seven O Clock Blackpink






Battleship Island Midnight Runners A Taxi Driver Train to Busan

Jay Park Jessi Zico Zion.T

Day6 The Rose Hyukoh FT Island



LOONA EveryDay6 Project (Day6) “Oh NaNa”/”Don’t Recall”/”Rumor” (KARD) “Dream In A Dream” (NCT’s Ten - SM Station) “Never” - Produce 101 Season 2

BTS EXO G-Dragon Park Shin Hye


DANCE PERFORMANCE “DNA” (BTS) “Oh Nana” (KARD) “Shangri La” (VIXX) “Lilili Yabbay” (Seventeen Perf. Unit)




Dean Feel Korea in London G-Dragon MOTTE Tour

Goblin The Emperor: Owner of The Mask Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

Taemin Taeyang Sunmi Kyuhyun



Produce 101 Knowing Brothers King Of Masked Singer New Journey to the West 2

MAC Future Forward - Lee Hi PERIPERA Peri’s Ink Velvet Moonshot Lipsticks in Lip Peat–

BEST DRAMA OST “Beautiful” (Crush - Goblin) “Stay With Me” (Chanyeon & Punch - Goblin) “If You” (Kyuhyun - The Big Hit)


BEST K-POP RELEASES OF 2017 DAY6 - I WAIT This could be the most underrated song on this list, but it wasn’t something we could skip over. Kicking off their monthly single project with a strong foot, they delivered a chill song which tells the frustrations of a love story. The feeling like they’re not on the same page and they put forward the desperation of wanting to know how their loved one feels, that they want them or to let them go. One thing we can certainly say about this group is their relatability in their songs.


WINNER - REALLY REALLY The boys had returned stronger than ever with this hit song. While it carries the feeling of a summer song, the versality of it makes it suitable to listen to anytime of the year. There’s no doubt an appeal surrounding the upbeat, feel-good track. While this may be their 3rd comeback year, it does feel like they’ve started anew with ‘Really Really’ on the group’s path as artists. “If my feelings for you were money, I’m a billionaire”



Arguably one of their most powerful songs to date. It’s straight to the point and isn’t afraid of rejection or failure but instead moves to inspire the listeners to keep getting back up and trying again. Because in reality, that may have been painting an image of their own experiences and thus they wanted to return the favour of being the people that spur you on, no matter what trials you may be facing. “The light will pierce through the darkness”

This is something that’s always been interesting about B.A.P, within their songs there’s been themes used about looking at the bigger picture in society that’s often overlooked. Whether that’s on social injustice or not containing yourself in a narrative that’s described as being the ‘norm’ and thus not questioned. It’s a new concept used for their comeback track this year, though it nevertheless adds to their versatility as a group. “Be aware of the corrupt truth”

SEVENTEEN - DON’T WANNA CRY Possibly one of the groups that’s surprised us this year with how much they’ve grown and how far they’ve come in their careers. They’re known for their catchy, bubble-gum pop-esque music but SEVENTEEN really pulled it out of the bag with ‘Don’t Wanna Cry’. We’ve noticed that they have progressively started to cover different musical projects this year with the sub-unit’s in the group, which is one of the reasons why they stand out as a unique group.

VIXX - SHANGRI-LA Widely known in the K-Pop world for their mythical and boundary-pushing concepts, VIXX has been moving in a different direction which is especially shown with their last comeback song ‘ShangriLa’. It was a pleasant blend of music that combined western and eastern music together. If we were to describe the M/V, it would be none other than regal. “The place I’ve been looking for is you”


Aside from being a member in the veteran group BIGBANG, he’s built a successful solo career for himself since 2010 and is one of the biggest names in K-Pop. With every comeback, it’s evident that it tells his story not just as an artist but from real experiences. From being love-struck in ‘I Need A Girl’, the strong feelings melted away for the forlorn hit song ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ and leading up to the present with ‘Darling’. And at this stage, he appears to be happy where he is right now in his life.


The latest single was meant to be a gift for their fans, yet perhaps unsurprisingly it became one of the hottest K-Pop tracks of the summer. It’s a different style to their past songs, a touch more of their ‘pink’ sides that we haven’t seen from their last 4 single releases, but it’s certainly not an unwelcomed concept. It’ll be interesting to see how their music will evolve over time.


This was quite a surprising concept from the Cube girl group, but it’s certainly served as a hard-hitting track that turned attention toward them during the start of the year. ‘Hobgoblin’ is a great offering as a great club track and the fierce image suited the girls well. It does bring up the question of whether they’ll return to this kind of concept next year or try out something different. “We are CLC”

SURAN FT. DEAN - 1+1=0


This track caught our attention, a collaboration between a popular artist and a rising soloist. The unusual vocals from Suran fitted well with this song and Dean’s smooth lines added to the overall appeal. The pair stress that a life with just work isn’t good, so always fit in some time to rest. Which of course, is always a good message to convey. “The sun and the moon, day and night. There is always balance in the world”


This bittersweet track comes from the girls who won over people with their music since 2009. It was initially written as a farewell letter to Minzy but following the disbandment news near the end of 2016, the meaning behind it became even deeper and dropped a few more degrees in the sad reality of the situation. While it did take a few listens to get used to just hearing the three members, they still released a track that was done in true 2NE1 style.


They’re one of the most successful groups in K-Pop, with attention always casting over to them whenever a comeback has been confirmed. It was a wonder how they were going to top last year with hit songs such as ‘Monster’. However, the track ‘Ko Ko Bop’ didn’t disappoint especially with it’s a fresh reggae sound and the beat drop during the chorus was a smooth transition overall.


As a follow up to their previous catchy tune ‘Rookie’, the SM girl group brought the fun and summer vibes with ‘Red Flavour’. It an upbeat dance number that’s full to the brim with excitement for what the hot holiday period will bring. One thing that Red Velvet never fails to do is bring out bubbly music that makes you want to dance along!

We got nostalgic with SNSD’s latest comeback, it felt like a throwback to their past hit songs. The kind of image that we may have learnt to associate with them and as a result, it did make us feel nostalgic as they were one of the groups back in the day that served as an introduction to K-Pop. ‘Holiday’ is a fun track and acts as a reminder why they will remain one of the top girl groups in the industry.


The trio hail from some of the well-known girl groups in the industry joined forces for this special collaboration. We would have never pegged these three to work together on a song, as it’s rare to get an official collaborative song from different group members. It’s an jazzy track where each of the girls’ charms shine through, the vocals and harmonies really made this a memorable song.




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