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In Love with Akdong Musician (AKMU)

Lately I have been infected by Korean wave or generally called hallyu. It began when I started watching I Can See Your Voice (see more about it in my previous post), and since then I just cannot stop browsing for some Korean stuffs, especially K-pop songs. This time I will share one of my “bias” (I think this is how K-fan naming their main interest?): Akdong Musician a.k.a AKMU. 

I first realized this group when I accidentally found their video when they were auditioning for Kpopstar. If I recall correctly, Kpopstar is some kind of Korean singing competition show where the winner will be part of the talent agency (for better information you might check via google 😋). Anyway, this siblings left quite an impression in my mind because they were so cute and had some talent to compose a nice song. See the video here:

I did not explore further their other songs afterward, but not so long ago I saw their videos being reacted to by Reacttothek, one of youtube channel which shows reaction of classical musicians to Korean songs (they are very entertaining by the way, you should check it out 😁). I fell in love instantly to their songs, 200% and Give Love. Compared to other K-pop songs which I’ve ever listened to, their music is very simple yet very engaging. It is easy listening and cheers you up in a very happy way. My favorite so far is 200% that I could listen maybe hundred times in a day. 

AKMU consists of Lee Chan Hyuk (brother) and Lee Soo Hyun (sister). After they won Kpopstar season 2 in 2014 (I wish I had known it before!), they signed a contract with YG entertainment and released three albums, Play (2014), Spring (2016) and Winter (2017). Their latest single album is Summer Episode (2017) which was launched only last July with two tracks inside: Dinosaur and My Darling. 

What I love from AKMU is their simplicity and creativity in creating music. Most of their songs tell stories which are relatable and easy to digest. How People Move, for example. This happy and bouncy song tells us about how amazing it is to be alive as human being. It is amazing to be able to breathe and move around with your feet and do lot of things with your hands, which is true, right? Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to be born as human. I remember when I was younger, I asked myself what would happen if I had been born as a chair. How devastated would it have been for me not being able to do anything I like? I am quite happy that this same feeling was also captured in their lyrics:

It’s a relief that I’m a human out of all the countless living creatures
If I were born a toy
I wouldn’t be able to move on my own, it’s frightening to even think about it
Then how is my heart bounce bouncing

If you are looking at this video, you would not think that the lyrics will be quite deep in the meaning, and that is what I like about it 😁


Another song which I really like lately is Dinosaur. This newest song of AKMU is actually their first experiment with EDM (honestly I did not know what EDM is until I googled it and found out that it is Electronic Dance Music! Lol). In the beginning I was surprised and did not really get the feel of it, but after listening to it several times, I found myself more and more engaged to this song. I love how light the song is and not heavily ‘EDM’-ed. It still showcases Soo Hyun’s amazing voice and their beautiful harmonization. 

The video tells us stories about bullied Chan Hyuk and lonely Soo Hyun who created their own world inside their dream. In that world they could enjoy their freedom, however there is one thing that they were afraid of, which was the dinosaur. Though in the beginning they looked like running away from it, in the end they decided to face their fear. This was reflected in the lyric:  

You broke down our window
You roared at my family
If I see you again
Then
I’m gonna shout louder than you
Dinosaur

There is a good review about this video in seoulbeats that I think very good and relevant (I honestly did not realize that it linked to Spielberg and series of Stranger Things!). I am impressed how thoroughful this video was made, and completely aligned with their story of Dinosaur

In conclusion, I am totally in love with AKMU and looking forward for their next projects. Hopefully I could get a chance to see their live concert because from what I found in youtube, they always perform amazingly in their live performances! “They ate their own CD.”, has been always everyone’s comment when people see their live performance. They are simply amazing 😍

AKMU, hwaiting! 😄💪🏻

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Being Intrigued by The 2nd Moon gugak project…

..and it all started with my obsession to reality show “I Can See Your Voice”.

For you who don’t know, “I Can See Your Voice” (ICSYV) is a Korean reality show which has a professional singer guessing from a group of people, who can sing well and who can’t. If a contestant who can’t sing well is chosen in the end of the show, he or she will earn a monetary prize. While if contestant who can sing well is chosen, he or she will be able to sing a duet with the singer and release it as a digital single (you can see more details in wikipedia). I have been into this show mainly because of its concept: “Don’t judge book by its cover”, which of course is a reality in this show because really, you can not know if someone good at singing only from their appearance or even lypsinc performance. Plus, it is so funny 🙂

Anyway, I was enjoying some ICSYV episodes in youtube when I suddenly saw this clip:

I immediately fell in love. 

I fell in love with the guy (you can’t blame me for this..he’s cute!), his voice and particularly the music. 

The music is beautiful, I cannot get it enough. It keeps playing in my head, and I keep repeating this clip over and over again. 

I found out later that he is Kim Jun-Su, a Pansori (wiki) and Gugak (wiki) singer who is now collaborating with Korean fusion band named The 2nd Moon. The band itself is not a newcomer in Korean music industry. In fact they have won some awards in 2006 Korean Music Award and also produced soundtracks for a very popular Korean drama, Princess Hours (wiki). They just released their gugak project album, A Butterfly’s Dream, and both songs sang by Kim Jun-Su in ICSYV; Farewell Song and Here Comes The Royal Inspector, are part of the album’s tracks.

Driven by curiosity, I got their album even though I have no clue what the album is about. The 2nd Moon admin in Facebook was kind enough to share me a summary of the album which gives me a flavor on story that is being conveyed by each song. So far Jeokseong-ga (Jeokseong Song) and Eosa Chooldoo (Here Comes the Royal Inspector) are my favorites (maybe I will share my thought on the songs in separate post…).

A Butterfly’s Dream has not only made me attracted to Korean traditional music, but also made me think a bit further: can’t we implement the same approach in Indonesia? I know I am not the best person to criticize considering I am not skilled in music or any cultural thing, but I think I will pretty much enjoy a customized traditional music which will have some kind of modern touch, but not forgetting the traditional root in it. I have no doubt it will make people start loving their culture again. Am I exaggerating? I wonder…

Overall, I am quite enjoying this project of The 2nd Moon. I really want to see their live performance because I think it will give different atmosphere when I listen to them directly and not through digital music. Let’s see if I can get an opportunity in the near future. 

P.S. You can get more information on The 2nd Moon from their Facebook page (in Korean though. Good thing FB has translation function now!) and also from this short clip:

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Song of the week: Anna Kendrick – Cups (Pitch Perfect’s “When I’m Gone”)

And it’s time for another song the week! *ahem* I got this song just yesterday from my friend and I like it a lot. I noticed about TV series “Pitch Perfect ” long time ago but did not get a chance to see the serial yet (I guess I was bored with musical series such as Glee). Now I am curious to find and watch the series because of this song. It’s a simple yet catchy song – perfect for my relaxing time. Enjoy!

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Song of the week : Mika – “Popular Song”

Alright, back to my old habit to share my most played song of the week(s), this week I would share with you song from Mika – Popular Song. It is a catchy and funny song with amusing yet thinkable lyrics. Even from the title and several first lines of the lyric we could already tell what this song is about. Long story short, enjoy the song! 🙂

MIKA – Popular Song

La la, la la
You were the popular one, the popular chick
It is what it is, now I’m popular bitch
Standing on the field with your pretty pompons
Now you’re working at the movie selling popular corn
I could have been a mess but I never went wrong
Cause I’m putting down my story in a popular
Said I’m putting down my story in a popular

[Chorus]
My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
You were always popular,
You were singing, all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do, is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know
Catch up, cause you got an awful long way to do
Catch up, cause you got an awful long way to go

I was on the lookout for someone to hate
Picking on me like a dinner plate
I’d hit during classes, and in between them
Dunk me in the toilet sound to that cleans
You tried to make me feel bad with the shit you do
It ain’t so funny when the joke’s on you
Uh, the joke’s on you
And everyone’s laughing, got everyone clapping, asking
How come you look so cool?
Cause that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school
So that’s the only thing I’ve learned at school

[Chorus]
My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
You were always popular,
You were singing, all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do, is be true to you
Catch up, cause you got an awful long way to do
Catch up, cause you got an awful long way to go

Before the next time that you calling me crazy
Lazy, a faggot, or that…
Here’s the one thing that’s so amazing
It ain’t about that to be a looser baby
All you ever need to know
You’re only ever who you were
All you ever need to know
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do, is be true to you

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(Late post of) Java Soulnation 2012

I think 2012 is quite a good year for music lovers in Indonesia. We have so many concerts from international artists this year, for example Katy Perry, Foster the People, Maroon 5 and Sting who will perform on December. We also still have our annual music festivals such as Java Jazz Festival and Java Soulnation. Since I love Jazz, going to Java Jazz Festival (JJF) has become a “ritual” for me and my friends, either to watch one day performances or three days in a row. I was not really into Java Soulnation as, to put it simple, I don’t really understand Soul music.

Anyway, since my friend had a discount ticket for Java Soulnation this year, I thought it would not be a harm to watch this music festival to see what it’s like. I didn’t buy the special performance of James Morrison and Bryan Thicke since those were on Saturday and Sunday, and I already had another plan on those days. Along the way, there was a time when I decided to sell my ticket since I must go for business traveling, but then my friend who said that she would buy my ticket cancelled it only two days before the show. It’s difficult to find another person to buy the ticket, so I chose to still watch it right after I came home from Philippines (talking about torturing my body!!).

So I went there with some of my colleagues. As been expected, I was totally exhausted after standing for several hours. Five hours flight with not enough rest surely affects your body strength especially if you are lack in exercise or working out. Good thing I still could enjoy the music performances that night. Color Me Badd (CMB) was the most fun performance I saw. Despite the fact that they are middle-aged men now, they danced (!!) all around the stage and really made us feel excited during the performance. Sandy Sandhoro was quite nice even though his music style or arrangement was not too popular among youngsters. At the end of the day, I watched Jay Sean whose music, honestly, I didn’t know at all. His R&B songs were okay, but I mostly attracted to his partner who was a quite good beatboxer. Again, since I was already too tired, I could not enjoy entirely the show.

Overall, it was a good experience. Tiring, but also fun. I would not mind to go and watch next year Java Soulnation I guess 🙂

My colleagues and I in front of the big poster…

Color Me Badd rocked the stage. Too bad I didn’t get good picture that night 🙂

Sandy Sandhoro in action…. nice improvisation for some songs 🙂

 

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Song of the month: “Anak bertanya pada bapaknya”

Ada anak bertanya pada bapaknya
buat apa berlapar-lapar puasa
ada anak bertanya pada bapaknya
tadarus tarawih apalah gunanya

Lapar mengajarmu rendah hati selalu
tadarus artinya memahami kitab suci
tarawih mendekatkan diri pada Ilahi

Lihat langit keanggunan yang indah
membuka luas dan anginpun semerbak
nafsu angkara terbelenggu dan lemah
ulah ibadah dalam ikhlas sedekah

Saya yakin Anda semua pernah mendengar lagu di atas. Lagu yang populer sejak saya kecil dulu itu memang sederhana dan mengena di pikiran. Sebagian dari kita mungkin berpikir lagu ini terlalu pendek dan yah, setelah sekian lama diputar di mana-mana, akan terdengar membosankan. Buat saya, lagu ini tak lekang oleh jaman. Setiap kali Ramadhan tiba, lagu ini biasanya selalu bergema di kepala saya, seakan sudah menjadi bagian dari rutinitas saya ketika menyambut bulan suci ini.

Kalau dipikir-pikir, lirik lagu ini sebenarnya mengena sekali meski hanya dengan lirik-lirik pendek. Dengan cerdas lagu ini menggambarkan sesuatu yang setiap orang tua alami ketika harus menjelaskan arti puasa kepada seorang anak. Hal yang wajar mendengar seorang anak (kecil) bertanya apa sih guna puasa, apa sih guna tarawih, apa bedanya bulan Ramadhan dengan bulan-bulan lain yang sudah dia jalani. Dan saya rasa lagu ini bisa menjadi salah satu pilihan untuk menjelaskan secara sederhana dan juga, menyenangkan (meski mungkin bagian kedua lagu ini akan terasa agak sedikit membingungkan buat mereka :P). Tidak bisa tidak, salut untuk Bimbo yang bisa membuat lagu simple nan menyenangkan, dan juga tak lekang masa (setidaknya buat saya :D).

PS: Sebenarnya ide menulis tentang lagu ini juga tidak disengaja, ketika saya (untuk kesekian kali) mendendangkan lagu ini saat beraktivitas. Saya pikir lagu ini cerdas juga ya, menggambarkan secara simpel tentang puasa dan tarawih kepada anak. Jadi tak ada salahnya mengulas secara singkat di sini 😉

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Song of the month: Sweet Sorrow – Viva

Yes, Sweet Sorrow is a name of a group in case anyone is wondering. I knew this vocal group by accident when I was at Lausanne with Pak Riky. While we were traveling in train to Lucern (if I am not mistaken), he showed me music video of four young Korean guys with lovely song and funny story. Soon I fell in love with them, even though I couldn’t remember their name, not until I was back in Jakarta and asked Pak Riky about them 😛

They are Sweet Sorrow, an all Korean male vocal group which apparently have started their carreer in 2005 (should have known them sooner!). They have released three albums and two mini albums now (based on one site that I found), and have sung many soundtracks for Korean drama. Currently I only knew two songs from them: First Date and Viva, but somehow I am sure enough that I will like most of their songs judging from how often I play their songs lately.

Viva is one of the newest song I could get from YouTube, and I looooove this song! There is always something about easy listening jazzy song that I could not resist, and Sweet Sorrow seems to know this weakness of mine, because now I just can’t get this song out of my mind 😛 I am looking for their other albums now, hoping I can find them soon (but not sure if I can find it in Indonesia…).

Check out the song to see how awesome they are 😛

Sweet Sorrow_Viva

PS : Anyone please tell me how to insert video in WordPress? What I can show is only the link and that’s not really I wanted :/