Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Return of the Notable Rookies of 2012

Back in 2012, I made a post about some notable rookies that debuted that year. I contemplated making another list for the end of 2013, but honestly there wasn't much to talk about. So, I figured I would revisit these rookies and post an update of them one year later.

When I think about or least see an update from this subbing channel I'm subscribed to, I check out these guys. It seems like they've tried to broaden their visual and vocal range with more mature concepts like "HELLO". They're latest release I've seen is "Sleep Talking", which isn't that bad, but it's shot in a way that has been used before by B1A4 and later A-JAX. KPop is really running out of ideas. I'm sure they're still the underdogs, but they still haven't gain my attention to follow them.

Not too much has changed with this group as far as my feelings are concerned. I'm in the process of reviewing their first full album release for you guys, so I can't say too much about it. I know lots of people have been complaining about the overexposure of this group, but you can't help that when you come from a company with lots of power and money. It's not their fault. Anyway, EXO-M seemingly appears to be the more successful one between the two. I've learned from Exo Showtime that the members, personality-wise, are more likeable, but let's focus on the music. It seems like the group is gradually growing into their talents. They try to do something to display their synchronization as a 12 piece group, like "Growl" and then something to show off their vocal range, like their latest, "Miracles in December". I haven't listened to their latest release as I write this, but just based off that one song, it's probably one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever. It's beautifully composed, sung, and performed, but thanks for the little push off the edge of the cliff, guys. Yesh! I'm looking forward to more new material, but I hope that SM paces things for them, because they are clearly overworked.

I guess the stupid rivalry or whatever fans are making up are still going between B.A.P and EXO, but whatever. I think they have new competition in rookies BTS and GOT7. Anyway, like EXO, B.A.P have probably released the most material out of everyone in this list, which is ridiculous. The interesting thing is that their material has improved since the notable list was made. "Coffee Shop" was simple, smooth, and gave the vocal chorus a chance to shine. Despite it's laughable Engrish, "Hurricane" was a fun, high energy song that was easy to dance to. "ONE SHOT" is probably my favorite and most strongest release they've ever made visually and musically. "Badman" wasn't as strong as "ONE SHOT", but it was still a vast improvement from their earlier work, such as "Power" and "No Mercy". I won't be calling myself a Baby anytime soon, but I'll definitely continue to follow these guys and hope that TS Entertainment doesn't burn them out with these constant releases.

Six Bomb
Despite having a catchy track in "Chiki Chiki Bomb", the low budget video and unpolished live skills didn't quite hook enough fans. There was potential in the group and, as mentioned before, buried within their mini-album in a song called "Baby Boy". Six Bomb had a short life span and disbanded in 2012.

As much vocal potential and energy this group had, ChAOS also had a short life span. While I didn't like their debut song, "She's Coming", I at least acknowledged that they had voices, but the song was very underwhelming and borderline insulting. "Racer" presented some interesting things to the table and had a cool build up. At least they tried with their artsy video for "Kiss Kiss".

I've declared in a few places that this group is my favorite female kpop group. They have amazing vocals and a mature look to them similar to Brown Eyed Girls. They had a strong start with "Potently" and "Painkiller", but I didn't enjoy their follow ups, "Lonely" and "I'll Be There". So, I was a little nervous when I watched their latest, "Tonight". It took some time to warm up to it, but in the end, I enjoyed this fun song. It's not as mindblowing as "Painkiller", but I still enjoyed it. It looks like they have something coming soon called "You Don't Love Me", so I hope it brings back the fire in this group and people recognize their overwhelming vocal talent.

Not much has been happening musically with this group. Apparently, 3 of the members left the group and are now part of BESTie, which isn't anything special or new from what we have now. LE has been featuring a few artists' songs and there was an announcement that they would be coming back with two new members, which they've already named. That's about it. Not much to comment on here.

I'm not a huge fan of this group, but I was definitely on the support train. So far, every release had been pretty good and there was a nice little break for a moment. "INSANE" came out and it took some adjusting, especially since the visual concept had been recycled before. I learned to enjoy it, then "Snake" and "Stay With Me" came out and I was deeply disappointed and a little insulted. A-JAX went from mature and sleek to pedo-bait in boy scout uniforms and cuteness. I really hope they go back to their roots and ditch the aegyo routine.

JJ Project
I guess this duo was a temporary project? I really don't know. I wasn't closely following them anyway. I almost got mad when I found out about GOT7 and thought JJ Project was just a throw away, until I learned that they're part of the group. I guess this is equivalent to Bang Yong Guk and Zelo before B.A.P debuted. I haven't listened to their first release yet, so this is just based off their "Girls Girls Girls" video, which isn't that bad. I wanted to add it to my recommendations, but there's nothing special about the video aside from some choreography moments. The song's kinda unique in the kpop world and the guys are easily likeable off stage. My curiosity is definitely piqued though.

Not much has been going on with this group either. I'm really hoping they don't fall into oblivion, because they have too much going for them in the talent department. Unfortunately, they're still in the shadows of B2ST. [Pun not intended] Their latest release, "Thriller", still looks and sounds like leftover B2ST material and it doesn't help that this video was released after VIXX's "Hyde", which has a similar dark concept. It's still pretty good, if you ignore all those factors.

This group has become a bit of an after thought and I wouldn't put it past South Korea to think the same of this group. It seems like their strength might lie in Japan, but it's still unsure if they'll fall in the same international trap U-KISS is in. Without looking at my iTunes library, I can't think of any stand out songs after "La-Di Da-Di", which isn't a good thing. I'll probably continue to check on them and their status every now and then though.

What can I say about this flawless duo? Well, they remain flawless. That's always a good thing. I may not listen to them often as they make a lot of ballads and some of them fall in the drama OST sound of ballads, which I usually dislike. They might not keep my interest with those songs, but their voices are still amazing and breathtaking. Honestly, I think their strength lies with R&B and I think they should stick to that kind of sound, then they can have some range with more uptempo melodies and slow jams.

Similar to CROSS GENE, this group has become a bit of an afterthought and I don't think they've released much either. As mentioned in the notable list, I was really impressed with "Far away...Young Love" and I was hoping they would continue to grow in that direction. When "Shaking Heart" was released, it just felt like a lesser version of B2ST, so obviously not as impressed, but not completely let down. It was still alright. They did what they could with what they were given and I guess that's all you can ask for in a rookie group. Hopefully, the company and the fans give them a chance to a grow a little more, before making a decision to disband them or anything.

Initially, this group gave me some really good feelings and I was looking forward to what they were going to do in 2013. I wasn't expecting to turn into a proud Starlight at the end of the year. Release after release, VIXX has consistently gotten better with every concept thrown at them. They have even be given the title of "Princes/Kings of Dark Concepts" by fans and I kinda agree with that, but just overall, they are a solid group. They're probably the most solid group on and off stage out of all the male rookies in this list. I do hope they take a little break though, before they start release more new material...and do another set of performances in the U.S.

Apparently, D-Unit has this rotating third member system, which I think is stupid. It's just as stupid as the T-ara leader rotation system. Anyway, I was surprised that JNEY from GP Basic was featured in their latest video and just assumed GP Basic was done. Upon investigation, they're gearing up for a comeback, so I'm looking forward to that. I still have their mini-album in the lineup for review, so I can't say much there. What I can say is that the group seemed to have detoured a little from the hip-hop concept. Whatever it is, I'm not particularly feeling it, but I do want to hear more of them.

This group falls in the same category as C-CLOWN and CROSS GENE. If they happened to be in my feed with new music, I check it out, but not super attached to them. They haven't really done much in the release department, but I can say that I love "Want U Back" way more than "Bad Boy". As generic as the sound, concept, and visuals are, it's a song I can listen to more than once and sometimes dance to. They still have a lot of talent potential and I wouldn't mind seeing more of them. Make it happen!

Maybe because the company was occupied with disputing with Block B and creating a replacement with ToppDogg, but not much has been happening with this group. It's a little saddening that there's so little activity, especially since I kinda like them more than D-Unit. They did make "Get Up" during the label mess, so I hope they release more amazing and unique material or go to a different label to pursue that greatness.

Since this was the only group on my list that I dislike, this will be different than the others. Have my feelings changed toward them? No, not really. They still remind me of SNSD and don't suit my tastes. Their latest release, "Miniskit", I guess is their attempt to be sexy. Too bad Girl's Day did a better job with the skirt teasing. Hopefully, this is the last time I'll be talking about AOA to this extent.

I wasn't super impressed with this duo, but I did like them a little bit more than JJ Project. Despite the assistance of Infinite H in the songwriting, their follow up single for "MAMAMA" just felt the same as their debut track, a long choreographed commercial. I just convinced myself that Tasty was nothing more than a dance duo and that they should completely ditch trying to sing or whatever. Fortunately, they redeemed themselves with their latest release, "Day'n Night". Their music still sounds like 90s boy band pop, but the content had a little more substance than the previous two video releases. I hope Tasty gets to polish up on the sing abilities.

Another group to add to the list with 100%, C-CLOWN, and CROSS GENE of groups that I check on every now and then. It doesn't look like they've been doing much. Their latest video is "U R SO CUTE", which isn't overly cute. It's more sweet than anything. Unfortunately, it's not as impressive as car commercial "Hurry UP", but I hope they gain momentum and play around with their potential some time soon.

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