Our commentary series for what has turned out to be one of the best shows on Korean TV right now continues and we’re now on a regular schedule. This week Lightinthemind of Korean Rock is Real, Youngmi of Dream, Girl, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle and Sangha of strangeseasonsin join me on the panel for the episode that aired on June 12th. Watch the episode yourself through Mnet’s free VOD service.
In the fourth episode of MUST Era Of The Band we again get to see Galaxy Express, Goonam and The Solutions with Rose Motel, Monni and Dear Cloud joining in on the fun. The theme of the week is ‘genre kill’.
Anna: It’s been so long since I saw Rose Motel! This’ll be fun. Will be very interesting to see what Dear Cloud do of this too. And of course – such a delight to get to see both Galaxy and Goonam again! A bit surprised about Galaxy’s return though, considering they already won last week’s episode.
Lightinthemind: I do love Rose Motel a lot! I was at their album release show and finally I could understand the whole lot of epicness of those guys. But really, why again Galaxy Express and Goonam?
Youngmi: Looks like Goonam really wants a win!
Dahee: Yay for Rose Motel! I’ve missed them and their wackiness. I feel bad for Goonam – they haven’t won a single round yet, despite pulling off great performances. And yes, why is Galaxy Express back? Aren’t they going to be performing in the final episode anyway? Did I miss something in the explanation of the rules? This is very possible, since I wasn’t paying attention to that part anyway…
Sangha: I’m so very excited for Dear Cloud!
Galaxy Express vs. Dear Cloud
Anna: Galaxy Express will go up against Dear Cloud after picking U2’s Rattle And Hum from the stand of vinyls selected by each band during last month’s Seoul Record Fair. It seems Jung Yup is a Dear Cloud fan? Cool! And Galaxy Express doing trot? This could be fun!
Dahee: Oooh, interesting match-up! And whoa, Choi Min Soo is a Galaxy Express fan! I admit I let out a little squee when he appeared onscreen. I love that man.
Galaxy Express – “참아주세요” (Kim Hye Yeon cover)
Anna: Galaxy Express take trot to heavy metal! Great drive. I wonder if it’s the original trot melody that does it, but to me this sounds like a modern Korean 80’s metal. I love it! And a bit of kids song “두껍아” thrown in there as well, working better than I could’ve guessed. It’s really amazing that this rich sound can be created by just three people. Great opening!
Lightinthemind: Trot and heavy metal? According to the outfits at first I thought it was going to be street punk, but heavy metal sounds are also well selling for me. At least GE returned again to a ‘high octane’ sound.
Youngmi: *Swoon* This is the Galaxy Express I know and love. Aside from the fact that they are singing trot, their combination of the well known children’s song was incredible! And excuse the fangirl in me, but does Jong Hyun look good or what?!
Dahee: Love that Western opening! I wasn’t entirely into this at first – I felt it was a little too repetitive, which was something I was afraid would happen with that particular song. But after that switch into the children’s song I was won over again, and those instrumental bits were just glorious. By the end I wanted to be in that crowd, headbanging along to this. Yay for Galaxy Express!
Dear Cloud – “백만송이 장미” (Sim Soo Bong cover)
Anna: Regardless of language this song is so nice. The rose petals falling down on stage as well as the rose clouted microphone stand is taking the song a bit too literal, but Nine’s voice is as fantastic as always. Unfortunately the refrain of this song falls a bit flat for me. It can be done so wonderfully, but there is so much potential lost here. The instrumentation is done well, but as much as I adore Nine’s deep voice it’s just not enough to bring out the otherwise so enchanting qualities of this song. Until Nine reaches even deeper into her registers and starts falling all over the stage, that is. Nice recovery! And when we get the tremolo on the guitar? Fantastic! Here I was thinking that Galaxy Express was way superior, yet I find my eyes watering.
Lightinthemind: I’m curious if anybody knows the true original song. True – means not Sim Soo Bong, but our Russian singer – Alla Pugacheva. That is why I was comparing the Nine’s vocal and the arrangement with our russian version. And I should say that the cover was a bit boring, I wish they would’ve added something psychedelic that could have showed new colors of the song, but this was just flat. That is why when Nine started falling on her knees I didn’t understand the point. Sorry, my overall impression – good, I missed Nine’s voice; the melody was polished to the details and brought qualified modern rock sounds. But not winning.
Dahee: I love, love LOVE Sim Soo Bong’s version, and think this was the perfect song choice for Dear Cloud. Is Nine fantastic, or is she fantastic? There’s something so sexy and enchanting about her, and that voice!! While I think this arrangement didn’t exactly reach the heights it could have, it was still very good, and the little details like the roses on stage and the lighting showed that they really put a lot of effort into this. And really, I think Nine saved this with her amazing vocal performance…even if the staggering on stage reminded me of Boohwal’s Jung Dong Ha, heh. I suddenly want to see them on Immortal Song 2.
Youngmi: I’m a fan of Dear Cloud’s music (and of course the incomparable Nine) so it excites me to see how they’ll do on the show! I can’t help but be mesmerized by Nine’s voice every time I hear her sing and the song fit her so well. It was also awesome to see the members so emotionally invested in the song. Lastly, it looks like they really used “a million roses” to cover the freaking stage! Wow!
Sangha: Brilliant! Nine has such a great stage presence. I’ve never heard this song before but I’m really digging their interpretation too! The roses must have been a pain for the staff to organize though! But they’re a lovely touch.
Galaxy Express: 228
Dear Cloud: 257
Anna: This is such a tough choice! I think Dear Cloud may be getting extra points from being the second of the bands to perform, but Galaxy did very well too. I’m not at all surprised Dear Cloud came winning out of this one though.
Lightinthemind: The audience… I think again it is only because of the mainstream sound of modern rock.
Dahee: I’m happy about this. Galaxy Express were the winners last week, so they don’t need to win. And I was equally engaged with both performances.
Youngmi: I thought Dear Could would win, but always happy for Galaxy Express!
Sangha: They were both good and since Galaxy Express has already won, I’m happy with how this turned out.
Rose Motel vs. The Solutions
Anna: Rose Motel gets support from Baek Ji Young, that’s nice. While Rose Motel consider commercial songs, The Solutions are looking to musicals for inspiration. Then it seems Rose Motel instead of just going for one song will be combining two – I don’t usually like that and this particular combination seems like it’ll be very difficult to pull off. And look, there’s Yook Joong Wan in the radio studio for Roy Kim & Jung Joon Young’s Close Friends!
Youngmi: I’m not the biggest fan of Rose Motel from the little I know of their music, although they always seem to have defining performances/outfits. The Solutions seem to be more stressed over what they should do. Park Sol in particular looks so incredibly nervous! I’ve never seen him so concerned over a performance. Breathe, Sol, breathe!
Rose Motel – “빈대떡신사” (Hahn Bok Nam cover) + “Shots”(LMFAO cover)
Anna: What? I didn’t recognize him at first, but it seem Yook Joong Wang has taken inspiration from Jeong Cha Sik. But no… How horrible. I love the trot part of this, but the ‘shot shot shot’ part is so disturbing to me I can’t really enjoy it anyway. Couldn’t they just have taken inspiration from LMFAO for a Hahn Bok Nam cover only? Then I would’ve been able to support them more.
Lightinthemind: That is what I expected from Rose Motel. Doing something unbelievable like mixing trot and electronic sound. The appearance suits well to Yook Joong Wang as if he was high class gigolo for a long time. They played a lot on the stage as usual and showed a funny performance. Maybe I’m acting as a fan here, but my vote will be for them.
Dahee: When I saw that they were covering that trot song, I thought, “Wow, they couldn’t have chosen a more perfect song! This will really allow them to bring out their greasy, corny side.” And then they…didn’t do that at all. And yet I…kind of love this. I am shocked by my reaction. I despise that LMFAO song. And yet they’ve arranged the two songs together so seamlessly, and perform with such energy and enthusiasm, that I can’t help but be completely won over. That moment when Yook Joong Wan was kneeling on the stage sadly murmuring those lyrics, and then the song built up again to that climax…I nearly wet my pants. Awesome!
Youngmi: Hmm. I always feel like Rose Motel puts on similar performances every time which can be a good or a bad thing depending on what you prefer. Their energy was fantastic as usual, but I don’t think the two songs worked very well together. LMFAO’s “Shots” got a little annoying after awhile and it left me wondering if Park Sol of The Solutions was doing okay back there in the dressing room all by himself.
Sangha: Yook Joong Wan looks…. really good?? I was also really shocked that they decided to mash the trot song with “Shots” and I’m not quite sure if I like the final product, but the crowd is really loving it. It seems like something you have to be there to appreciate fully…
The Solutions – “지금 이순간” (from Jekyll & Hyde)
Anna: Now this will be interesting! Already with their song choice they got on my good side. The synth wall with Park Sol singing the first few lines is a great opening. When there’s more of a band feel to it it’s not working as well for me, but when they get to the refrain and still stay with the powerful musical melody line for song I like it all the more. The key change is great as well. Overall I have the feeling this is not really as good as it seems to me right now – it is a bit too simple and relies too much on the original song – but compared to what we just had to sit through it’s a relief to listen to.
Lightinthemind: Musical melodies can sometimes play a bad role with the singers who are trying to do something new with them. Everybody knows the main parts and knows where the melody is going to be weaker or stronger, it is really hard to play around the melody. The Solutions were not able to change the main theme and to make it their ‘own’ like the other bands did. What I heard during the whole performance – were separated melody and good voice of Park Sol and somewhere behind the recognizable main line were all that synth-pop and guitar laces that were not able to hide the color or to bring something original to the song.
Dahee: Ugh, this song is so cheesy. Just the act of choosing it was a major cliche. There are so many better musical songs out there – why go with this one? I don’t understand. And the arrangement itself leaves me vastly underwhelmed. What’s the point of going for the shock value of choosing a musical song if you’re not going to stray from its musical roots? This could have been interesting if they’d done something really experimental with it. But no, they’ve gone the safe route. Colour me unimpressed.
Youngmi: I thought the song choice was a bit alarming for I did not expect a musical theater number from The Solutions. Although I respect their challenge to show a different side of themselves. I can tell that they worked really hard on the arrangement to make it as less cheesy as possible. I was a little disappointed that Park Sol’s voice didn’t fit the song at all. The band played a huge supporting role in filling up the performance. Unrelated, I have been infatuated with their drummer since they first came on the show! After few minutes of research it looks like he’s the main drummer of the band Hologram Film? Anyways, he’s fantastic. Brownie points to the drummer!
Sangha: Yup, he’s the drummer for Hologram Film! I was terribly bored by this whole performance – Park Sol is a great performer and I really appreciate him (and he is so cute!) but his vocals don’t quite cut it to really pull off the song. And I feel like the song didn’t ‘kill’ the genre like it was supposed to. Meh. I like The Solutions and they’re a really fun band to see live and all, but this was less than spectacular.
Rose Motel: 261
The Solutions: 221
Anna: What?! Now I’m sincerely surprised.
Lightinthemind: Well done, Rose Motel!
Dahee: Sounds about right to me.
Goonam vs. Monni
Anna: I’ve got so much love for Goonam. Getting all excited every time I see them on TV. My interest in Monni on the other hand has fallen flat since Top Band 2 when they consistently failed to deliver so I’m already 90% sure where my vote would go. Looks like Goonam too will be combining two songs, but in this particular instance it might actually turn into success. I was really hoping for them to take on a trot song as they do that kind of music so well, but this will also be interesting.
Youngmi: I desperately want Goonam to win at least one round! It pains me to see them work so hard and struggle to get votes. On the other hand, there was this one time where I was obsessed with Monni and bought all of their albums, until I realized it wasn’t Monni that I was obsessed with it was Kim Sini’s voice. He’s a gem, indeed.
Sangha: God how I wish they’d win for once!!!
Goonam – 서울 탱고 (Bangshillee cover) + “강원도 아리랑” (folk song)
Anna. Awesome 80’s outfit on all and Naun in particular. Loving the tango beats of it all so much I want to hear a full on tango tune from Goonam on the next album. And what a fun way to get into “Arirang”! Great touch with the dancers.
Dahee: I love the tango opening, and the use of the drummers was kind of brilliant. But after that, this performance fell kinda flat for me. There were three very distinct parts, and none of them gelled together all that well, in my opinion. The transitions could definitely have been better. I feel like if they’d stuck to one song, this could have been amazing, because the arrangements for each section were actually really good. As it is, I just sense that they’re really desperate for a win. That ending was so anticlimactic, to the point that I was surprised that it was the ending, and was let down that they didn’t have one more card up their sleeves.
Youngmi: First of all, I dig their groovy outfits! I love how sure Goonam is of their overall look and sound which is why this performance made me so happy! I most definitely preferred the “Arirang” better than the “Seoul Tango” part, but I had as fun as Yoon Do Hyun did while watching!
Sangha: Loved what they did with it! At first I was skeptical of them picking “Arirang” because to be honest, I’m tired of hearing that song, but their arrangement was refreshing! I really hope they win with this.
Monni – “바보처럼 살았군요” (Kim Do Hyang cover)
Anna: Monni will be borrowing from Hedwig And The Angry Inch ending to make a musical version of this old folk number. A shirtless Kim Sini to deliver those great vocals – just look at the eyes of the girls in the audience! The arrangement, as expected, isn’t all that convincing to me though. Not even when the pace finally picks up is this something I can enjoy, but the audience and YB seem to be convinced otherwise.
Dahee: I was so excited when I thought they were covering a Hedwig song, and was so let down when it turned out they were just borrowing the beginning and the concept, really. And yes, the arrangement is rather straightforward, despite them trying to jazz things up a bit with the shirtlessness and the strange carrying of Kim Sini to the other end of the stage. It’s fun to watch, and you can tell they worked really hard on it, but I’m pretty underwhelmed regardless.
Youngmi: I, too, was expecting a Hedwig number because there was so much emphasis on Kim Sini’s musical theater experience in the clips. Monni almost always seems like it’s Kim Sini and back up band instead of a collective unit. I truly felt it in this performance which is unfortunate. However, the vocals were great and darn you Sini, you just had to be shirtless!
Sangha: Oh no, sorry Goonam, Kim Sini is shirtless. Again, not quite sure how this successfully radicalized the genre but it’s a solid performance overall.
Anna: I so want to see Goonam win this, but I suppose they have yet to build up the fan base required to beat a band like Monni. It was still a good score for them though. A few episodes more and perhaps the ‘band people’ invited to the show will be able to share my affection for the wondrous Goonam.
Dahee: Poor, poor Goonam. They look so depressed. I actually winced for them when they lost. Are they just not mainstream enough for this audience?
Youngmi: What the freak? No! Gahh poor Goonam!!
Dear Cloud vs. Rose Motel vs. Monni
Anna: Considering I only liked the performance from Dear Cloud out of the three this is an easy choice for me.
Dahee: As long as Monni doesn’t win, I’ll be happy. But I think Rose Motel has the upper hand among these three…
Youngmi: Team Dear Cloud!
Winner: Rose Motel
Anna: Hopefully they’ll do something more fun next time we get to see them.
Dahee: Yup, as I expected. I’m perfectly fine with this, and look forward to what they’ll show us in the final episode.