B is for blessed

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve last blogged, and honestly, I’ve just been preoccupied–mostly with school, and when I do get back home, I’m either sleeping or procrastinating on Tumblr so as you can see, my days have been spent quite… fulfillingly. I’ve decided to post an entry today since there are a couple of things happening in my life, with the most major one being exchange!!!! But let’s start with the first piece of good news…

(1) Block B
Is this real or is this just fantasy? When I first found out that Block B are starting over with a new entertainment company called Seven Seasons (GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE STARDOM THANKS FOR TREATING THEM LIKE SHIT I WON’T MISS YOU), I could hardly believe my eyes. I’m so happy that they’ve stuck together and I never doubted for a moment that they wouldn’t because this is a group that voluntarily hang out with each other on a regular basic even in the absence of promotions so ofc a little setback like a lawsuit won’t stop them from finding a new home and making music together. God, I’m just so so happy. BBCs, mark your calendars and prepare your hankies because our boys are officially coming back on 30 September!!! ♥♥♥

Check out Seven Seasons’ cute greeting video to BBCs featuring our smile rep Yukwon!

I don’t even know whether I like it because I like it or because it’s something. Regardless, I love how simple the video is and here’s the text translation that conveys so much in just a few lines.

You’ve worked hard

I’ve suppressed it again and again and stayed patient

The training uniform that is drenched in the smell of sweat

Saying goodbye to public transport…

Quietly prepare for another beginning.

(Trans credit: ©)

(2) Busan
Like I mentioned, I got into my first choice for exchange for the next semester! Well, Seoul was actually my first choice, but I’d written Pusan National University instead since it has 20 vacancies and a girl’s gotta be realistic when her grades are like crap, ya know? This will mean that I’ll be living in Busan independently for a whole semester and attending school there as an exchange student. I’m nervous as hell just at the sheer thought of it but also ridiculously excited. I think it’s the experience I need to finally grow up and learn how to depend on myself a little more. I haven’t yet accepted the offer since I want to first complete my course matching and everything and see what’s available for me to take over there before I seal the deal (it’s pretty much done, anyway). But still!!!! I’m a little worried I’ll end up spending a miserable and lonely four to five months abroad with nothing to show (since I won’t be going with anyone I know), but I desperately hope that’s not the case. Time to step out of your comfort zone, Justine, and carpe diem!

(3) Birthdays
I celebrated two birthdays over the weekend, with my brother turning 25 on Friday and my two younger cousins having a birthday gathering at their place the day after. Birthday celebrations within the family are typically low-key affairs but I’m not bothered by that at all. We spent my brother’s birthday at Handlebar, which is this really awesome place in Sembawang that’s kinda ulu but serves really really good meat. I couldn’t take pictures at all because it’s alfresco dining so it was practically pitch black and I didn’t bring my DSLR. The food’s a little expensive, but the portions are pretty big and they’re so good, trust me. (And to my brother: I love you and all but I hope turning a quarter of a century old will mean that you’ll finally grow up because god knows you really need to. Please take responsibility for your life and act like the adult I know you can be.)

The next day, I was pretty much guilt-tripped to heading over to my aunt’s place since my other cousin wanted company at the gathering but well, she’s my favourite cousin, and it’s hard to say no to her when she’d asked so nicely. I really like spending time with her because no matter how much time we spend apart, it’s like it all disappears once we meet face to face. It’s nice. Right now, she’s head over heels in love with Dylan O’Brien, and it’s a feeling I completely understand. :’) Besides freaking out over my poly schoolmate’s MTV Movie Awards selcas with the Teen Wolf cast (WILL NEVER GET OVER HER SELCA WITH DANIEL FREAKING SHARMAN NOPE) and laughing our butts off over this picture (it’s fake lol), there was also….cake! Two of them to be exact. See, when one of the birthday girls is seven years old, well, you can’t expect her to share a birthday cake, right? But no one’s complaining because I love cake and cake loves me. Who doesn’t love cake?

 photo CAKE_zpsbf465306.jpg

Birthday girl Ethel and her sisters photobombing...with success
Birthday girl Ethel and her two older sisters photobombing…..with success
Other birthday girl Aurea with her twenty big candles. Happy 20th!!!
CAKE2
With the fav cuzzie who shares a birthday with both Chris Pine and Dylan O’Brien (as she had so excitedly shared)

Other than that, school has been spectacularly………normal. It’s been uneventful but with a three-day school week (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE), I can’t really complain. I’ve been trying (and failing) to keep up with my readings but hopefully once my few overdue Dinoseoul articles are out of the way, I can try and beat procrastination out of my system and finally get down to doing what needs to be done. Here’s to a great week, everyone! xx

Block B’s Blockbuster album review

Now that Block B is finally back, I find that 90% of my fandom time is once again devoted to these seven boys. These days, I’ve been listening to their first 12-track full-length album, ‘Blockbuster’, on repeat. Because it’s that good. They’ve definitely made good use of those eight months since the controversy that made them halt their ‘NanlinA’ promotions in February.

There are two songs (‘Halo’, ‘Did You Or Did You Not’) that are off their previous mini albums ‘Welcome to the Block’ and ‘New Kids on the Block’, which is a little bit of cheating on their parts, but I do enjoy them both so I’m not complaining… much.

11:30

I’m not really sure why, but listening to this just makes me feel like doing incessant body waves across the room (particularly during the ‘baby, I~~~’ part); it just evokes that kind of response – partly because of memories of U-Kwon‘s teaser as he dances sensually and then leans against a wall. This is what some would call a baby-making song, I mean, even the lyrics seem to hint at it: ‘I become excited for no reason oh / (do you want it) / if you think like I do’. It’s got a very distinct chill, R&B vibe, which is easy to get into and a nice opener and lead-up to the louder, more dramatic title track.

Nillili Mambo (닐리리맘보)

It’s no surprise that this is the title track since it has a lot of mass appeal, and seems to be most in line with Block B’s current image as fun-loving but badass guys. The pirate concept that they went with for the MV was a great choice, since it’s so unique and helps showcase their vibrant personalities. Part of the reason why I prefer this comeback over ‘NanlinA’, is that while that was energetic and catchy, it was a little too cool for my tastes and didn’t come across as as much fun.

‘Nillili lalala nilliliya nillili mambo’ and P.O.‘s ‘we bobbin’ to the music music this song is groovy groovy’ are probably the two lines that’ll you’ll find hard to get out of your head after a few spins. Besides the hook, the sweeping orchestral music also feels very grand and pushes the song to more powerful territory that definitely makes an impact. It’s the kind of song that has the ability to convert non-fans into BBCs, in my honest opinion. I also absolutely love Taeil‘s and U-Kwon’s lines here simply because they sound so good.

Mental Breaker

This song is so much fun! ‘Mental Breaker’ starts out with a very oriental intro before the ‘ooh ooh!’ interjection comes in and its dance fever from then on. I love that every single time I listen to this song, I picture Kyung shaking it all over town like he did in the teaser; it just brings a big smile on my face. The lyrics are essentially about being in this sort of relationship that’s not been defined, so you don’t know if the girl is your girlfriend, or if she simply looks at you like an older brother – so quite the headache-inducing situation to be in. The entire song has a very funky feel, with influences of Euro-pop, which may be due to the fact that it’s composed by two Swedish guys, Marcos Ubeda and Kevin Borg. And the teaser aside, Kyung’s rapping shines here for me, because you can tell he’s totally embracing the infectiously upbeat attitude of the track.

No Joke (장난없다)

It seems like every album they put out, there’ll be one track that’s full-on rap – previously it was ‘LOL’ and on here, it’s ‘No Joke’, a combined effort of our rapper line made up of Zico, P.O. and Kyung. Unpopular opinion time, but this is probably my least favourite track, which actually isn’t saying a lot in an album full of gems, I guess. Just that this one’s perhaps one that’s just a little less shiny for me.

I can definitely see why people rave about this track because it’s totally badass, but it’s really a matter of preference since I usually prefer their more melodious songs – some singing or hook to balance out all that hard-edged rapping. And was I the only one who had to look up the lyrics to realise that Zico was actually chanting the words ‘No joke no joke no joke’?

Movie’s Over

I was interested in listening to the full number ever since I heard it in P.O.’s dramatic movie-like teaser, and this is definitely another standout in the album, one I think would be a great follow-up to ‘Nillili Mambo’. Co-composed by Zico and Superstar K4‘s Gye Bum Joo, this track features our leader on the bulk of the vocals, and really, who knew he had that in him? Zico’s singing voice isn’t very powerful but it has a certain raw quality that’s able to effectively bring out the emotions in this song, though I do wish the line distribution was a little better and that the other members got to showcase their vocal abilities more too. This song is so soothing to listen to, and the only thing I didn’t quite like was Kyung’s rap bit that felt a little rushed and out of place here.

Where Are You

This is a full on ballad, and a first-time solo offering from main vocalist Taeil, who wrote the lyrics and composed the song. It starts out pretty generic but once the chorus hits, I’m hooked. It sounds like a track you’ll find in a drama OST, perhaps playing as the credits roll at the end, but what’s so lovely about this song besides his beautiful emotive range and the wonderful control he showcases, is just the sheer fact that he’s really selling the song. Listening to this, I’d without any hesitations believe that he’s completely head over heels in love over the girl he’s singing about. Swoon-worthy.

Romantically (로맨틱하게)

Written by maknae P.O., this is my favourite track, hands down. I’m sure this will probably change after a few more listens of the album, but right now, I’m completely smitten with it. It’s just so sexy. I love the line distribution here and that B-Bomb and Jaehyo get a substantial amount of lines, although this does mean that main vocalist Taeil gets the shorter end of the stick. But it’s worth it just to hear B-Bomb singing the chorus, which is incidentally my favourite parts of the song.

The whole number has a very jazzy vibe, and I’m not sure who does the skatting here but I may or may not be in love – it’s such a wonderfully appropriate addition. This is one song I really would like to see them perform live. It’s great that Block B aren’t afraid to explore uncharted territory and divert a little from the distinct hip-hop sound that we’re used to; it just goes to show how versatile they are and how they can essentially rock any style.

(Source: Blockbintl)

Block B bounces back

Yesterday was a terrible day for me because I was down with a massive case of the cramps in the evening. I got into 179 after my business law lecture and I vaguely remember slumping semi-consciously in a seat before stumbling out at Pioneer MRT station to flag a cab. My cramps are always the absolute worst. I waited at the taxi stand for a bit and at this point it’s like this stabbing pain in my lower abdomen and I swear I was thisclose to passing out. I puked all over the curb and then leaned against a wall somewhere until I managed to finally, finally flag down a cab. I swear cramps are forever cramping my style. Ugh.

But I’m much better today and the point of this is really to celebrate the return of my favourite boys… WOOHOO BLOCK B IS BACK! Okay, I know all this while I haven’t been completely faithful, what with B.A.P and EXO-M creeping their way and settling into their own permanent spaces in my heart, but Block B will always have a bigger share, I promise. ♡

The seven of them came back with ‘Nillili Mambo’ today and it’s such a great, upbeat song, that’s just so them. It’s powerful, insanely catchy and what I love most about it is that all of them get lines! B-Bomb isn’t relegated to merely the autotuned parts and Jaehyo gets more than a line, so I’m happy. I’m not crazy about the song yet even though I’ve listened to it a couple of times, but it’s really the nature of their entire return and their mere existence, and just… Block B,that has me going a little bit rabid at the mouth, you know? I’ve waited so long for their return, and I’m so, so glad they’re back.

Check out the MV below:

I’ll be doing a more in-depth review over at Dinoseoul, but here are some quick thoughts about the MV: Zico‘s dreads are back. They look like they’re randomly stuck into the bottom of his head, but hey, if there’s anyone out there who could pull the look off… And I swear Taeil gets better looking with each comeback. This is my favourite look on him so far. Tousled dark hair, cheeky expressions – plus, he’s totally rocking the eyebrow piercing and tattoos.

P.O. and U-Kwon look just as good. And that little move where U-Kwon spins the gun on his finger? Hot. But I totally laughed out loud when it turned out that there were no bullets in it and he ended up getting beaten up. Leave it to Block B to inject some humour into a swaggeriffic MV. B-Bomb looks like he always does – good – but with proper singing lines for once! He actually sounds really good.

I’m not loving the bright hair colour on Kyung though, but him and his chicken… I swear everything looked badass until it got to Kyung chasing the chicken around with a frying pan. Hilarious. And then you have Jaehyo. Oh, Jaehyo… What do I do with you? He seems to always get the short end of the stick. From getting cosy with the U-Kwon lookalike lady, to getting stuck with a cowboy outfit somewhere in the middle, this boy just can’t catch a break.

***

I’ve preordered my limited edition album! And I’ve listened to the songs in ‘Blockbuster’ once through and it’s good! It still needs a couple more listens from me but I’m really loving ‘Movie’s Over’ so far – god, who knew Zico could sing like that?

I managed to rush home after class today, in time to live stream their comeback showcase off YouTube and it was g l o r i o u s. It was everything I wanted and more. I didn’t realise how much I really missed these boys until I watched this showcase. Oh god, the smile on my face when they walked out on stage… While they were performing ‘Nillili Mambo’, and Jaehyo and Kyung couldn’t stop grinning at the back, THEY LOOKED SO GODDAMNED HAPPY I SWEAR. I bet it felt good to finally be back.

The songs they performed were:

  • Nillili Mambo
  • Movie’s Over
  • No Joke (Rap line)
  • Mental Breaker
  • Nanlina (Encore)

There was a really long interview segment and the boys all talked about what they’d do if their song reached number one. Jaehyo and P.O. promise to cut off their long locks, Zico and B-Bomb agree to go shirtless, U-Kwon will stop wearing sleeveless tops (WHY THOUGH), Taeil will go without his shoe-lifts (LOL) and Kyung will do the famous ‘Mental Breaker’ dance in the middle of Myeongdong!

One of my favourite parts of the showcase though, was the little talk/banter segment that Jaehyo, U-Kwon and B-Bomb did after their wardrobe change during ‘No Joke’. Jaehyo came out in a floral shirt tucked into denim shorts that are freaking mid-thigh and he said, “Why am I the only one like this in showcases?” LOL the coordi nunas sure love him. And I swear the guy has better legs than me. But he was so embarrassed about his outfit though and kept trying to pull down his shorts or cover up his skinny legs, it was so cute. And then you have U-Kwon with his sunglasses, pretending to be cool until… “I’m not trying to act cool. I wore my pants backwards while changing.” Sigh these boys are so precious, I just can’t.

The trio were eventually joined by the rest of the members and one thing I noticed was how Zico was really nice and kept thanking the fans and telling them to not push and shove too much so that they won’t get hurt. It’s just such a responsible leader thing to do. :’)

Here’s the full showcase if you missed the live streaming. Watch it. I promise it’s worth it.

(Source: Bontheblock)

Zico on the Block 1.5

This is my third entry of the day – guess I’m making up for lost time. Anyway, happy Chuseok everyone! And it’s about to get even happier because Block B‘s Zico gifted everyone with a new song off his mixtape Zico on the Block 1.5. I in no way understand Korean, especially when he’s rapping at the speed of light, but I’m intelligent enough to know that it’s good. I’ll just wait for some kind soul to translate the lyrics to English, and then confirm the fact that the guy’s a genius. And since Zico tweeted to spread the love, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Enjoy!

I absolutely can’t wait for my boys to be back on October 18. Ahhhhh new Block B material~ it’s been too long. I’m watching fancams of their Gyeongin concert, and I love how the whole controversy hasn’t seemed to change them. Here’s a fancam of them performing one of my favourite songs of theirs, ‘Synchronization 100%’, featuring Jaehyo clapping and laughing like a happy seal ∩( ・ω・)∩

They look so happy and healthy, and the fans are so loud, the entire video just puts a huuuuge smile on my face. The whole thing’s definitely matured them for sure, but I like that they won’t be shoved into that perfect, nice little box like we all feared Stardom would do. In fact, I think they’ve kinda went “fuck it” when it came to the whole appearance thing, which makes me all kinds of excited. I mean, Taeil got an eyebrow piercing! How many K-pop idols even have facial piercings? And Zico got a whole bunch of tattoos, and um well, Jaehyo still hasn’t cut his pretty, long hair like I furiously hoped he would, but still… I can’t wait. I hope they go all the way with this next comeback. Praying for only good things for these lovely, hardworking boys who deserve it more than anything.