Bear hugs for XOXO ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Okay, now that Dinoseoul’s ‘XOXO’ review is up (read it here) and I’ve already attempted to string my thoughts together into something semi-objective and coherent, I am now free to fangirl about how deeply infatuated I am with EXO-M. I’m not gonna even lie – right from the start, I’ve always preferred M over K… perhaps it was because Kris somehow caught my eye first in the ‘MAMA’ MV and I went through a somewhat embarrassing period of time where all I could talk about was Kris and his gorgeous bitchface (sigh…I know I know). But loooook… /deep sigh/ I’ll patiently wait for him to return to this beautiful hair colour and take back his title of ‘Krisus’.

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It also seemed like EXO-K barely had any interviews then while M was scheduled for something practically everyday and those live China interviews were sooooo awkward and my heart totally went out to the six of them because they didn’t have the luxury of being edited skillfully like their K counterparts did. Besides the fact that I didn’t have to wait for subs since my grasp of Chinese was at least adequate enough to get me by without resorting to English subs, I just naturally gravitated towards the six of them as I watched them grow and become more confident with each interview.

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Don’t get me wrong, I do like EXO-K, but I just feel like the M boys feel a little closer to home somehow and they’re really just the underdogs and that may also be why I was so against EXO promoting as one. I definitely looked forward to OT12 stages back during the ‘MAMA’ promotion cycle because those were few and far between so it was something exciting and different, but having all the ‘Wolf’ stages being performed by all twelve… I just don’t know if SM will allow M to shine as brightly as K in Korea since the members may not be as popular there. I mean, just look at how even in the OT12 Chinese version, Kyungsoo and Baekhyun dominated (I will forever be butthurt about this let’s be real here). But still, I do concede that it’s definitely a good thing that M gets to join K on the weekly music shows because M barely had any performances for a loooong time after their debut while K was practically performing 4 to 5 times a week so this will give them the chance to up their popularity and exposure.

With all that said, ‘XOXO’ is still such a good album and yes, both ‘Kiss’ and ‘Hug’ versions. I still have trouble telling Kyungsoo’s and Baekhyun’s voices apart because they’re really pretty similar in pitch (or is it just me???) and while Suho is totally leaping up my EXO bias list with his constant smile and sweet voice, I love how all the voices in M are so… unique and different from one other. Because of that, it’s quite easy to tell their different voices apart.

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Okay, I suck at describing voices but first of all, Chen has that really high sometimes almost nasally tone (though ahem Rachel would beg to differ) and he does pretty much all the belting and most of the adlibs. I know his Korean accent comes through quite often while he’s singing but I’m still really impressed at his pronunciation overall especially with the massive amount of lines he has to familiarise himself with and belt convincingly.

Kris has that signature growly/slurry thing going on where he sounds drunk/high or just plain lazy most of the time. I’ve never hidden my disdain for his rapping, and I guess if I weren’t clear before, I’ll say again that I really don’t like it and I think he’s simply not suited for it. He doesn’t have flow and he’s way too slow but I guess that’s not an excuse because you can have a deep voice and not rap fast and still be amazing at what you do (just look at Bang Yongguk). His constant growliness just makes everything more hilarious (like in ‘Let Out the Beast’) and I don’t know why SM didn’t just make him a vocalist because he does have a really surprisingly pleasant singing voice (that’s actually much better than his K counterpart, Chanyeol‘s) and sings quite a bit throughout the album. I also like his voice when he’s doing anything other than attempting to rap, like in ‘My Lady’ (at 1:54) when he’s sort of sing talking and it actually kinda suits the raspy quality that his voice posesses.

Xiumin‘s voice I’m not a huge fan of, if I’m being honest, because it’s just not very melodious but it could just be because he’s not had the opportunity to properly showcase his voice especially with the minimal amount of lines he gets throughout the album. I mean, he couldn’t have won that 2008 Everysing contest if he had zilch talent right? Then sweet, sweet Lay with his cute high-pitched voice and his thick accent that just makes me smile, and Luhan, whose voice might just be my favourite ever in EXO because it’s just gorgeous to listen to and I love the way he stretches to reach some of those notes and he’s also always so heartfelt in his delivery.

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And finally Tao, whose voice is like this gem I never knew existed because who knew he could sing like that??? He has one of my favourite type of singing voices; it’s like one of those typical teenybopper boyband voices, if that even makes sense – like, I swear to god he sings the same way Joe Jonas does where they get a little breathy and high pitched at the end of each line, and the way he slangs, like I can’t even explain (though I guess anyone who didn’t get into Jonas Brothers at one point in their lives wouldn’t get this reference). I mean, just listen to his lines in ‘3.6.5’ (at 0:14), ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Don’t Go’ and basically all the songs where he has singing lines instead of rap parts, you should be able to somewhat get what I mean… kinda? I really enjoy his rapping as well and even though his high pitch contrasts with Kris’ much lower one, there are also some tracks where he lowers his tone a little like in ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ (right after the second last chorus). And possibly one of my favourite things about Tao aside from his versatility, is how underneath his impossibly good-looking badass wushu exterior, he’s really a 13-year-old overly-emotional princess who likes to look pretty, take mirror selcas, shop at Gucci and cry over horror stories.

I’m sure it’ll change but my current favourites in the ‘Hug’ version are ‘Don’t Go’, ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘3.6.5’ but to be honest, every song in ‘XOXO’ is so listenable and there’s not a single track I’d skip even if I do love certain songs a little more than others. This whole album was just such a nice surprise because I didn’t expect it to be as quality as it turned out to be. Definitely worth a listen… or ten. And for anyone who’s confused about who sings what during which part, this link would be super helpful to get you acquainted with all the different voices.

So….. in short, I just have a lot of EXO-M feels. Ok bye.

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Crying. Wolf.

These past few days, I’ve been catching up on VIXX cuts of MTV Diary which aired for a bit last year from June-August if I’m not wrong? And it just further deepens my love for the six of them because they all have their individual quirks that you can’t help but fall for. But other than that, I’ve also been watching EXO‘s comeback stages for ‘Wolf’. And… I’m just glad they’re back for good since I thought I’d never see this day.

While I always claim to proudly support OT12, I have to first confess that I’m not a huge fan of the idea of all twelve members shuttling back and forth China and Korea together to promote. Can you just imagine how awkward those live China interviews would be with 3/4 of them not understanding the language? (I am looking forward to watching the Chinese versions of ‘Wolf’ performances though.) And it’s still a little unfair to me that even in the Chinese version of ‘Wolf’, the six members of EXO-M aren’t given enough spotlight, with the main vocalists of K still taking up a bulk of the substantial singing parts. So what’s the point of having the vocalists in M if you aren’t gonna let them sing in both the Korean or the Chinese version, instead reducing them to a couple of seconds of screentime at best? But the upside to this is that we’ll be seeing more of the M members since they’ll be active during all the Korean schedules as well as radio shows and interviews, etc. It’s really good to see the M members’ popularity going up in Korea, when previously, I’m sure the bulk of the EXO fans in Korea were simply K stans.

Thoughts on the comeback stages so far: I actually absolutely loooooved the outfits for yesterday’s Music Bank stage, and I’m always amazed that they have completely different stage outfits for every comeback stage. While yesterday’s was all boyish grey hoodies and caps, today’s Music Core stage saw them back in their MV outfits, which are… to be honest, a little abstract and excessive on the turtlenecks. But… Yixing in a headband!!!!! He just looked extra fab in today’s stage.

I thought I’d hate the song when I heard the demo leak eons ago and again in the highlight medley that SM released (it’s the weakest track by miles), I’ve actually grown to really like it and it’s definitely been stuck in my head for awhile. And can we just talk about how awesome the intro performance is??? It’s like something out of So You Think You Can Dance and I think the choreography overall just really works for such a big group like EXO, which I’m really impressed by since I thought the stages would end up looking too chaotic.

I also really dig the whole wolf concept… it doesn’t happen all that often but I always enjoy it when there’s a story-like concept to the song and the artistes have to embody a character for it because it’s just so much more engaging and fascinating that way. And because I can’t think of any other better examples, I’ll just mention VIXX’s stint as vampires in ‘On and On’ as well as the Jekyll and Hyde theme that’s in ‘hyde’ as examples.

As for ‘Wolf’, some of the members definitely get into character a little better than others, and in the comeback stages, I’m always a little drawn to Kyungsoo and Baekhyun, especially during their solo parts. My favourite part (and probably everyone else’s) is Xiumin‘s lines during the second group where they look like they’re doing spirit fingers and then they end it off with that shoulder shake. Another part I really like is when they split the tree of life into two and they each step into the space in the center for their few seconds of fame as the music dips, and also at the start where Chanyeol/Kris sticks out both arms and claw the ground. I love how dramatic and dynamic the whole performance is and there’s so many things to look out for throughout the five minutes, you never get bored at all.

I will say though that Kris seems to be totally not into it at all every single time, and I just hope he somehow finds it in himself to muster up some form of enthusiasm for the subsequent stages and schedules, because M really needs their duizhang back. Other than that, EXO are terrrrrriiiibbblle at lipsynching and I hope to god next week’s stages are live. Unfortunately, I’ll be missing the release of ‘XOXO’ on June 3 since I’ll be away at camp but I just know the album will be amazing, judging from the medley, and I already have my eye on a couple of tracks which will very likely end up being my faves. Other than that… SM, I demand the drama versions of the ‘Wolf’ MV now.

Fandom collision and a reclusive weekend

Before I dig into dinner, and then dive headfirst into the freelance SNSD article I’ve been working on, just a quick update on some of the goings-on in my…cyber life.

Idol Sports Championship is literally happening right this moment as I type, and I’m dying in anticipation just reading bits and pieces of fan accounts from Twitter – Luhan, Daehyun and Youngjae sharing snacks?! Luhan waving at Myungsoo??? Let me just weep from the beauty of all these fandom collisions. It airs on February 11 but it’ll probably only be a couple more days later before the subbed version’s released, so basically it’s a lifetime away before I can indulge in idol interactions between my favourite groups. I’m giggling just thinking about Baekhyun speedwalking, as well as my China-line boys Luhan and Tao totally dominating the competition.

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And once again, B.A.P are showing off new hair colours in preparation for their Feb comeback – they’ve all gone dark-haired again (Himchan must be rejoicing), though Zelo‘s hair is a dark blue-purple. Poor boy’s gonna lose all his hair before he even hits 20 u___u Jongup looks like he’s lost a ton of weight though, I don’t know if it’s the haircut but he looks scarily gaunt in some of the preview pictures. And from what I’ve read, Himchan really is poised to be the next Woohyun with the amount of fanservice he gives out. Look at how adorable he looks with his new hair?!? Sorry for the upcoming fantaken picspam, but not sorry *__*

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As for my weekend, I spent a better part of it away from social interaction and I blazed through 22 episodes of New Girl so I’m finally all caught up, and just in time to watch my dearest OTP Nick and Jess finally kiss on tomorrow’s episode. Watching New Girl has really made me come to the almost depressing conclusion that I…am basically Nick Miller. He’s a cynical bum who’s a self-declared writer, broke like 90% of the time, has uncontrollable anger issues and is so self-deprecating it hurts.

   

   

   

(Gif credits: donniedarkos/belleprintemps)

See what I mean? He’s so frustratingly lazy sometimes, but I just want him to do well in life and get his girl in the end because how can you not root for him? When he finally finished his book ‘Z is for Zombie’ after a million and one bouts of procrastination, I just wanted to give him a great big hug and tell him good job, even though it was probably the crappiest piece of work ever written.

I also finally watched Silver Linings Playbook, the movie that won Jennifer Lawrence a Golden Globe recently. I don’t really have the time to go too in-depth into it, but I think I set my expectations way too high because it really fell short, and didn’t make me really feel anything like I thought it would. Still love Jen though.

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And lastly, I can’t believe I missed it when it aired, but this happened.

How absolutely perfect was his rendition? His English pronouciation has definitely improved by leaps and bounds, and I can’t wait for CNBLUE to get their flawless asses back here on April 13 as part of their World Tour. Finally. I’ve only waited for forever for this.

(Picture credits: as tagged to respective owners)

‘You are the peach to my tea’

Music: Lover Boy – BtoB

I came back from KL last night, and it was fun flying out for a bit and pretending to be independent and all. I’ve come to the conclusion that my boots are definitely not made for walking – my feet were practically begging to be set free by the end of the night, and I’m pretty sure I have blisters in the soles of my feet, if that’s even possible. Though our spots at the concert were… ok honestly, pretty shit, seeing EXO-M live was truly……….I can’t even describe. Their four-song set was performed completely live, and really, that’s more than I could ever ask for <3 Pictures from the trip another day because I’m way too lazy to dig them out of my phone.

Anyway the main point of this post is I just want to take some time to give a shout-out to a little Tao international fansite called Peach Tea because the girls there are really nice and friendly, or at least the ones we met in KL were. And really, because more people need to stan this adorbs Kungfu Panda tbh (lol says the Lay stan o…..k). Just look at how sassy this bish is~

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Peach Tea’s pink leopard print hand banner is beyond cute, and they were asking for donations for these cute little gift bags they made (please ignore the fact that um most of the sweets have already been devoured by me). I gave them 10RM, which I guess is a lot? I was just overwhelmed by how nice those girls were T__T But omg the stickers, they’re so cute I can’t even?!

It’s only after Dinoseoul that I truly realise just how difficult it can be to manage a website, whether it’s keeping up to date with news, updating the different online platforms, constantly creating content, liaising with PR or simply trying to get the word out there about our nugu editorial website – though of course I’m blessed to be doing this with and def won’t be able to do it without some of our fantastic writers/photographers, plus my dear friend Rachel (muah xx), so I really appreciate the girls and their effort, and actually all the fansites in existence, really. Without them, we won’t get to enjoy and admire all these beautiful well-taken super HQ pictures of our oppas and unnies so a giant heartfelt ~THANK YOU~ to them.

So please do visit Peach Tea here and here, and oh wow, their site looks so fancy :O Which reminds me, Dinoseoul’s layout is in need of a revamp. …And this is where I curse the fact that no one I’m close to is a website-designing genius. :-( And before I forget, a very happy birthday to B-Bomb the Selca King, as well as SHINee‘s leader/CandyPang King, Onew!

December’s gonna be great

I’m on a very brief (I swear) respite from studying to document the very large hole SMTown Live World Tour III has left in my heart (and wallet). I don’t confess to being an SM stan since I much prefer BlockB.A.P, but now that EXO has officially joined SMTown, well, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Although EXO only performed ‘History’ and ‘MAMA’ and they were up quite early on, the rest of the concert was just… asdfghjkl;lkl;’

I really didn’t expect to enjoy myself as much as I did. Yes, despite the fact that the clouds decided to rain all over us towards the last few songs and despite the fact that my poncho was a cheap piece of crap that barely covered me and left me soaked. I especially enjoyed Super Junior‘s performances because they sang a lot of their songs live and their stage presence was impressive, even though Leeteuk and Siwon were missing from the line-up.

Some highlights off the top of my head, in no particular order:

  1. EXO, of course. I was waving my EXO-M lightstick around like a mad woman, and may or may not have screeched like a banshee each time the camera flashed to Lay. (Though I found out later that he hurt his back and slumped forward from the pain mid-way through ‘History’ ;___;) I was so excited when EXO-M started off the ‘MAMA’ perf since K usually do it, so we get to see Kris and Xiumin lip-shouting hee ^^
  2. Eunhyuk‘s Singlish moments when Suju was introducing themselves. I can’t wholly remember but I think he even pulled out “Do you happy lah?” at one point.
  3. When the fangirl was wrapped in a KyuMin sandwich at the end of ‘Just the Way You Are’, I swear I could hear collective envious sighs all around.
  4. I usually roll my eyes at Kris’ attempt at swag during the SMTown ‘Like A G6’ performances but watching it live was seriously… :O And when Kris, Amber and Key climbed onto the substage that was so freaking close to where I was sitting, oh god, I. Cannot. Function. With Krisber being chummy and sitting by the edge of the stage and diva Key making fab faces at the camera, the performance was too flawless for words.
  5. Um, JongMin porn during ‘Internet War’? Kthxbai. I vaguely recall Ying Xin saying something like “I shouldn’t say this but omg that was so hot” LOL. But understandable, because omgitwassohot.
  6. I’m not sure if ‘Open Arms’ has been performed previously but it was SO GOOD. I especially liked Baekhyun‘s voice in the song. Such a good rendition, ahhh~
  7. When Suju did ‘Superman’, complete with their overdramatic entrance and then ‘Bonamana’ later, I was so captivated. Those two were definitely among my favourite performances of the night, along with Donghae and Eunhyuk’s ‘Oppa Oppa’. Consider me an ~E.L.F.~ now… loljk but they were that good.
  8. And the end with ‘Hope’ with LayHan being cute spraying water on everyone (ft. Sehun running off like a little girl), and KrisLay going off together at one point ~MY FEELS~ And Tao with his panda hat!!! (Even though I only saw this later in fancams.) I thought the rain would make everyone stay at the main stage, but they were all running around the different stages and being fanservicey. What a perfect end to a perfect four-hour concert.

But now I have to accept the fact that I’ve been to one of the biggest K-pop events in existence basically, and that it’s over now (WAHHH BUT I DON’T WANNAAAA). And here’s a highlight reel for Dinoseoul that Michelle edited (because wow, that’s totally helping me not wanna turn back time and return to Friday night).

Ahem, moving on to December… Some things to look forward to (so I don’t sink into an SMTown-induced funk):

  • Sundown Festival 2012 + press con. Yay I can’t wait to see BTOB live! Hmm… Gotta think of some non-fangirly questions to raise during the press con. AH ILHOON-AH NOONA IS COMING
  • Then once my exams are finally over, I get to celebrate with some RaNia heh. Idk I think it’ll be fun! Gotta do my homework and listen to their songs first though.
  • Then I’ll be meeting up with some of the poly kids for dinner, and finally get to see the two now-bald boys whom I haven’t seen in 5ever
  • I’ve also got Main Comm handover for FOC ’13, which will hopefully not be as awkward a night as I think it’d be…
  • Followed by two days of emceeing at NEX Citigems which will put a cool 350 bucks in my pocket (at the expense of my pride, but ya know…)
  • And then my second ever independent trip out of Singapore to be reunited with my Yixing (lolol just let me please) cause I’ll be going for the 2012 Asia Super Showcase in Malaysia! It’ll be a night of the underdogs because the line-up consists of Super Junior-M, EXO-M and BTOB (heh again). I am so excited for this, I cannot even. I really hope EXO-M (1) sings live and (2) have more than just two songs.
  • I’ll also be going to Chiang Mai in the second half of December and I heard the weather’s lovely, and the place is lovely, AND THERE’S WI-FI IN THE HOTEL ROOM *celebrates*

December’s gonna be guh-reat. I can’t wait.