• Ladies and gentlemen!

    Dreamcatcher is a k-pop band I have only discovered very recently. The group was originally called MINX and featured five members. It changed its name to Dreamcatcher one and a half years ago and evolved into a septet. The band has released four extended plays so far, including this year's Escape the Era and the brand new Alone in the City which was released precisely one week ago.

    What I like about the band is that it differs from other k-pop bands that use hip hop and rhythm and blues elements. Dreamcatcher rather incorporates rock elements, varying from hard rock over commercial punk rock to mellow heavy metal. The band still uses electronic pop elements though and also incorporates brief rap elements. This makes for a quite unusual mixture.

    Stylistically, the band isn't too different from other k-pop bands, with all seven members wearing the same type of clothes in most of their music videos and performing almost robotic dance choreographies. However, the seven members all have great vocals and the musical style is distinctive enough to be noteworthy. Give them a chance.

    ''Fly High''


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  • Ladies and gentlemen!

    I know I'm late to the party but I have been listening to some K-pop over the past few years. This is quite unusual for someone who usually listens to metal, gothic and rock music and occasionally to blues, folk and classical music. Trendy boy- or girl-groups have never been my cup of tea. You could chase me with music from One Generation or solo artists of former super groups like Justion Timberlake who is maybe the worst offender. How come I like Korean pop music?

    First of all, I'm a big fan of Korean cinema and have watched countless movies from that country in the past few years. I like Korean cinema because it's more emotional, gloomy and intense than what Hollywood has to offer these days. I like the country's most brutal films such as the explicit ''I Saw the Devil'' but also the more atmospheric works like the imaginative ''A Tale of Two Sisters''. I even appreciate the country's over-the-top comedy films like ''Quick'' but also epic dramas such as ''The Handmaiden''. One of my favorite contemporary actors is Choi Min-sik and I also like Kwak Do-won and Song Kang-ho to only name a few examples. Watching all these Korean movies made me discover Korean pop music that was either featured in some of these movies or indirectly related to them because many actors are also pop musicians.

    What I like about K-pop is its vivid, quirky and colorful style that works in danceable and catchy tunes but also in calm and emotive ballads. The way pop sounds merge with rhythm 'n' blues and hip hop but also occasional other influences such as folk sounds is creative, entertaining and at times still surprising. K-pop isn't as eclectic as J-pop but probably more consistent. There are several J-pop artist I adore because they have their very own style but there are also cringeworthy J-pop artists who seem to be walking stereotypes. K-pop doesn't have that many highs and lows and I'm not always in the mood for listening to this type of music but when I am, I enjoy it thoroughly.

    Today I want to present you a quite quirky and catchy female K-pop quartet called Sixbomb because this band has stirred up controversy one year ago with its two singles ''Before'' and ''After'', released in February and March 2017, respectively. The songs and videos show how the four girls decide to undergo plastic surgery. The first clip shows an excited quartet chosing its four individual treatments in a shiny facility. The second clip presents the quartet's new looks with a lot of joyous self-confidence. It's important to notice that it were the band members' own decisions to undergo plastic surgery. On the other side, one has to understand that the four band members made that decision hoping to get some attention and propulsing their careers. The former did actually happen while the latter hasn't happened yet. Sixbomb haven't released anything since these two singles one year ago. Let's also underline the fact that the group's record company agreed to pay for the plastic surgeries and its related treatments because it was obviously expecting to make some money in return.

    There have been quite a few discussions about Sixbomb's story. Those who criticize them harshly claim that the women already looked beautiful before, didn't need any kind of plastic surgery and encouraged women to pay for extensive plastic surgery instead of strengthening their self-confidence. Those who defend the band claim that the four women have the right to modify their bodies in any ways they like, that these changes made them feel better about themselves and that plastic surgeries are much more common in South Korea as opposed to other countries as even foreigners travel to that country to undergo such treatments.

    I can understand both points of view and won't take sides since it remains a personal decision. However, I find this debate about the necessity of plastic surgeries quite intriguing. Sixbomb is the first group to openly discuss this topic while multiple other Korean pop artists have undergone plastic surgeries but didn't dare speak about this topic. I must admit I like both songs and especially ''After'' quite a lot. Even though I obviously can't personally relate to the lyrics since I'm not at all interested in undergoing plastic surgery and have always appreciated the natural beauty of women, I find the vibes, optimism and energy of both songs quite gripping and the challenging topic at least intriguing.

    Make up your own mind about this complex topic and don't mind sharing your point of view. Here are ''Before and ''After'' by Sixbomb!



    Bonus track: ''Hiccup Hiccup''

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