What are your thoughts of Kpop/Jpop/Cpop in 2014?
2014 was a year mixed with both great music and big disappointments. To start off with the good, this year we got some absolutely fantastic music from TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, who has quickly become my favorite male soloist. Some other Japanese highlights for me include albums from Shiina Ringo, Charisma.com, Akai Koen, and Miliyah Kato.
I’ve been a big fan of Kana Nishino for a long time but I cannot go through another year with dull music from her again. She was on my list of disappointments last year and is on it again. Gesu no Kiwami Otome. is a band that I liked but was already starting to get tired of, and their album this year was such a safe and lifeless album that I no longer look forward to new music from them. And for as much as I loved Miliyah’s Loveland, Muse and her latest single are so forgettable.
For cpop, we got albums from almost all the top artists. Jolin, Jay, A-Mei, and Elva put out albums with an A-Lin and Leehom one on the way. Some great albums from Waa, Khalil, Eve Ai, and Jane Huang also came out. Cpop started slow this year but a lot of good albums came out and Q4 has been a packed with releases. My biggest cpop disappointments would be Elva’s boring album and Dream Girls’ terrible album. I expected a lot more from them.
2014 was definitely one strange rollercoaster filled with dating news, shocking statements, and lawsuits. Despite all the negative news that has surrounded Kpop, musically, I would say 2014 continued to deliver some really great music.
The one comeback I anticipated the most this year the most fell short of my expectations, SNSD’s comeback. Delayed comeback date, rushed teasers, MV footage loss, leaked album, and short promotion cycle were all factors that created a mess of my bias group’s comeback which left me disappointed. I still like “Mr. Mr.” as a song and other songs like “Goodbye” and “Wait a Minute” from the Mr. Mr. mini album. Also, I did thoroughly enjoy SNSD-TTS’s mini album Holler a lot.
Apart my biases, there were a lot of good releases from other artists that I really liked. A honorable mention is the rookie group Mamamoo who released “Mr. Ambiguous” and “Piano Man”. In general, there were quite a few rookies that released some really good music this year like Akdong Musician, Winner, and Lucky J. Other artists whose music I enjoyed were BEAST, MC Mong, VIXX, Block B, Orange Caramel, f(x), T-ara, and IU. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the music releases this year.
If I could sum up 2014 one word it would be crazy! From sexual assault rumors, drug scandals, members leaving, and more, 2014 was one long, twisted ride. However, the thing that affected me the most is the death of Eunb and Rise. Most people knows me as a person who loves hip hop, but there are tons of Kpop groups I stan; Ladies Code was a particular favorite of mine since their debut. The unfortunate news, completely shattered my heart. For 2015, I pray that we don’t face another tragedy like this.
On to the good things: I was completely satisfied by the releases of most of my biases! First, Epik High blew me away with “Shoebox”. I loved all the songs, especially “Raise the Curtain”. The packaging was gorgeous, and I am thankful that Tablo provided translations. F(x) delighted me as well! “Red Light” was a horrible song in my opinion, but “Milk”, ”Paper Heart” and “Butterfly” made up for it. I was a bit disappointed with Sistar and Block B as their releases did not impress me as their previous ones. However, as a fan, I am pleased with Sistar getting their “Showtime” variety show, and Block B expanding their popularity. Now, please dear Nega Network and YG, let me get a BEG and Big Bang comeback in 2015!
2014 was a weird year for me both in terms of releases and things going on within the industry itself. There were a lot of bad releases from artists I expected more out of and great releases from artists I expected nothing from. One of the biggest disappointments was Miliyah Kato’s album LOVELAND. I’ve been a fan of her for a long time and I wasn’t too happy when she ditched R&B for the generic EDM trend. LOVELAND is a return to that R&B style, but the result just isn’t up to the standard of her previous songs. The rest of the releases from her this year gave me the same feeling, and a few even seemed rushed. I’m praying for a slower release schedule and better music from her in 2015.
A big trend with Japanese music this year (besides the country’s obsession with the Frozen soundtrack) had to be collaborations between major artists. While not every artists that tried a collab pulled it off perfectly, this is a trend I would welcome more of in 2015. It really kept things exciting. Specifically I would love to see more collaborations between famous composers and singers, like EXILE’s vocalist ATSUSHI did with Joe Hisaishi (who is best known for his work with Hayao Miyazaki).
2014 saw a great deal of scandals erupt between K-Pop companies and idols, but I really didn’t expect that kind of thing to happen to one of the biggest female solo artists in the industry. Namie Amuro has gone through plenty of scandals in her career and pulled through all of them just fine, but as a fan, this is one of the scariest to watch. If something good has come out of it, it’s that Namie herself refuses to give in to threats and that the support from her fans and a others in the industry remains strong. I hope things can be worked out over the next year so she can move on to whatever she wants to do.
What are your thoughts of the Asian entertainment industry in 2014? Feel free to share your own reviews!