Music · Pleats

Dressing Like Kpop Albums

I’m back with another lookbook style post! I came up with this idea one day and immediately latched onto it. If you know me then you know I love kpop and I love fashion. Planning these outfits was a blast and I hope you enjoy this concept!

For each of the 7 kpop albums I own I took inspiration from the photobook and packaging to create looks. These aren’t necessarily recreations of outfits from the photobook but outfits derived from the “vibe” of the album.

BTS — Wings

Top: Thrifted

Pants: Thrifted

Blazer: Thrifted

Shoes: So Aesthetic Shop

This album is rich and luxurious so for the fit I tried to incorporate lots of textures. Starting with leather pants and a “silk” pajama top (big believer in pjs for daywear), I decided to top it off with a white blazer. To add even more dimension, I opted for my beloved iridescent platforms.

NCT 127 — Chain (Taeyong Version)

 

Top: Forever 21

Jeans: Old Navy

Blazer: Thrifted

NCT’s Japanese album has a lot of graphics and sporty yet structured looks. To compliment the graphic element I chose my “sisterhood” graphic tee and paired it with black jeans and a black blazer for a casual yet classy look.

EXO — The War

Top: Dillard’s

Pants: Gap

Shoes: Converse

This concept is quite different from all the other albums I own. It’s rife with primary colors and beachy prints. It’s hazy, laid back, and summery so I chose an outfit that was the same. Yellow pants are the focal point and I balanced their silhouette with a flowy black floral print top. Some cute apple Chuck Taylors were the finishing touch to this fit.

BTS — Love Yourself: Answer

Dress (as top): Dillard’s

Skirt: Macy’s (?)

Shoes: Converse

A springy luxe concept, this album is characterized by lace and pastels, romantic silhouettes, and frills. In my outfit I matched the theme with a peasant style dress, worn as a shirt and a flowy white circle skirt. In the photo book outfits they wore chunky shoes to contrast the flowy clothes so I opted for my white Converse One Stars to finish the fit.

Monsta X — The Code

Top: Forever 21

Sweater: Aeropostale

Jacket: Thrifted (Hollister)

Jeans: Dillard’s (Calvin Klein)

Shoes: Gifted

The Code is soft and neutral with cozier shots and a black, white, and nude color palette. To honor this, I went with a white knit and a brown corduroy jacket. Then, I chose light wash jeans and tan ankle boots to keep the soft look consistent.

EXO — Don’t Mess Up My Tempo

Sweater: Forever 21 (Men)

Skirt: Forever 21

Jacket: Dillard’s

Belt: Aliexpress

Shoes: So Aesthetic Shop

Leather, chains, belts, and general motorcycle rebel gear define EXO’s fifth album. It’s hard and it’s cool but it’s also really hot. The main point of my outfit is the chain belt so I built the ensemble around it. To balance proportions I chose a bulky sweater and pencil skirt. I topped it off with the leather jacket because, you know, leather and EXO are a whole ship. Of course my platforms were the only shoe for this because I definitely needed to be taller and really powerful for this concept.

BTS — Love Yourself: Tear

Top: Gifted

Jeans: Old Navy

Jacket: Thrifted (H&M)

Boots: Off Broadway

LY: Tear is probably my favorite kpop album concept wise: it’s dark and brooding, casual yet rich, and painful but beautiful. I chose a black button down and black jeans with a black belted denim jacket. As you can tell, the mood was all black, so I finished the fit with black lace up ankle boots.

Let me know which look was your favorite!

Stay fly,

~Akilah

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Music

Is BTS Low Quality Music?

Recently, I saw a DKDKTV video in my feed that grabbed my attention. It was called “BTS is Low Quality Music”. Of course, I couldn’t scroll on by after that. I had to see what this was about. The video was an answer to Parkgaedae’s video “BTS is McDonald’s” (which he has since deleted). His premise is that like McDonald’s, BTS is very popular but they produce low quality music.

Now, before I begin I would like to preface a few things: #1 I’m an American (African-American to be exact) and I have never been to South Korea before. #2 I’m an ARMY, I’ve been a fan of BTS for about 1.5 years (I’m multifandom, so I stan a lot of groups). #3 I don’t know any Hangul (my little sister can read and write it), I know a few words in Korean but I don’t speak the language.

I tried to approach this video in a logical way instead of just saying “BTS is amazing and you’re a hater!” I tried to figure out Parkgaedae’s arguments and look at his and DKDKTV’s premises.

His first argument was that people think BTS’ music is catchy, they’re handsome, and nice but their music is low quality. Now, I didn’t get to watch the original video because it was taken down, but in the clips that DKDTV referenced, he never defined “low quality music”. David (from DKDKTV) talked about how Kpop has a reputation for being “fast food music” essentially mass-produced and “factory made”. I understand how you could think this if you only listen to the catchy choruses of comeback tracks that are released twice as often as western artists. But if you look at the song credits and see how many Kpop artists are producing they’re own music, if you examine the lyrical genius, and observe a studio recording session of a kpop group, I believe your “fast food music” mentality might be changed a little.

Particularly BTS, if you’ve ever watched RM’s Vlives where he breaks down the album in his studio: recounting writing processes, funny production moments, and exclusive demo tracks, then you would see all the care that they put into their music. I’m assuming Parkgaedae is not an ARMY and I wonder if he’s ever asked any of us why we like BTS. Because he seems to think that it’s only because we “think they’re handsome and nice” which is a factor, but at least for me, it’s more about how much they’ve impacted the world and individuals with their message. It’s about how they’ve taken their pain and struggle, worked hard and risen to fame, yet still stayed humble and appreciative. It’s about how they create amazing music about real issues and encourage people to love themselves.

Parkgaedae’s next point was that Koreans have immense national pride in BTS and it’s displaced. He referenced the fact that the first thing Korean people mention to his American friends is BTS and their place on the Billboard Charts. He (and his American friends) are rather disgusted that a country would be so proud of a boy group.

Danny (from DKDKTV) agrees that it’s irritating to him (as a Korean) to hear Koreans always asking foreigners if they know BTS, Gangnam Style, Park Jisung (soccer player) etc. David pointed out that if it’s the easiest thing to talk about or have in common: whatever thing your country’s known for. Parkgaedae likened it to him as an American talking about how amazing McDonald’s is. Mentioning how far it’s spread across the world and how many people consume it. That “feeling is what a lot of foreigners get when Koreans take a bunch of pride in BTS.”

What I think Parkgaedae missed in his analogy is that we as Americans don’t HAVE to do that to feel like we matter as a country. We take for granted that the rest of the world looks up to us, we assume that they consume American food, music, and products. We assume that we’re the most important on the world stage so we don’t even try to find common ground. (Please note that I’m not saying all Americans believe this and I’m also not saying that every country “looks up to us”, I’m simply saying that seems to be a prevailing mindset among the general American public.)

When you’re excited about something, you tend to mention it as much as you can. Think about those recently engaged people who talk about their ring, engagement story, and wedding plans every time they have an opportunity. Listeners understand this because it’s exciting and it’s new, it’s something to be proud of. Another possible component to nationalistic pride in BTS is the feeling to have to prove oneself or country. If you’re a part of a minority group you’ve probably experienced the feeling of standing in a room where you had to prove you are good enough. Having to have something in common with the majority culture and show that your culture can “hang with the cool kids”. This is something that Parkgaedae probably has a hard time fathoming as a white American male, because his culture is the dominant one. If you’re a minority and a person or thing that is appreciated in general society comes from your culture, you generally want to leverage that. It’s interesting to me how it seems the majority of the people upholding the rhetoric of “you’re talking about Black Panther too much or you shouldn’t take pride in BTS” are white males.

Parkgaedae’s final point is that Koreans should take national pride in Hangul instead. They should be proud of this amazing alphabet that is beautiful and systematic rather than promoting a pop boy group. While I agree that Hangul is amazing (it seems so organized and efficient but also gorgeous to write) and should get more love, I have an issue with this point. Rather than making a video about how cool Hangul is and how it deserves more recognition, he comes off as a bully telling another ethnicity and country what they should and should not take pride in. Somehow he thinks it’s his place to dictate how people should show their pride in and admiration of their own culture. The fact that he’s telling Koreans what they should promote/be proud of rather than telling other cultures/people groups about this cool thing and promoting it himself seems like a very backwards thing to do. I believe he partly did this to get views: make a video bashing BTS in order to get millions to watch it, but since he removed the video, he probably wasn’t prepared for the response.

The final thing I want to say is in agreement with David. BTS is one of the biggest promoters of Korea to the world (at least from my American point of view). They’re part of the reason that my sister is and I want to learn Hangul and Korean, they’re part of the reason I’ve research the politics and history of South Korea, how I know what hanbok is and even some Korean recipes. They’ve used Korean traditional music in songs that have taken over the charts, spoken in Korean at major awards shows, and promoted a message to the world that South Korea can be proud of. Like their music or not, their impact is undeniable, as evidenced by their winning the Korean Order of Cultural Merit for “outstanding meritorious services in the fields of culture and art in the interest of promoting the national culture and national development.”

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Music

Favorite Albums of 2018 (So Far)

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In which I fulfill my dream of being a music writer, and share my favorite albums of 2018’s first half in no particular order…

Positive

Artist: Pentagon

Genres: Kpop; Khip-hop

Release Date: April 2

Favorite Tracks: Do it for Fun; Shine; Off-Road

In the past, I’ve never been able to fall in love with Pentagon’s B-side tracks, and thus the rest of their albums. Although their title tracks always stand out I’ve been underwhelmed by the rest of the songs. Positive changed that. Each and every song on this album is magical, from the infectious and high-energy Shine, to the gritty hip-hop line’s Do it for Fun, to the acoustic choir infused Let’s Do it Together and every track in between. It’s an all around good-feeling album that explores a plethora of different sounds.

The Kids Are Alright

Artist: Chloe X Halle

Genres: R&B; Indie

Release Date: March 23

Favorite Tracks: Happy Without Me; Baby on a Plane; Fake

I’ve been a fan of this sister duo since they were doing covers on YouTube. Now that they’ve released an EP, mixtape, and now full-length studio album under Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, I can say I’m still a fan. We are graced with Chloe’s melodiously deep alto and Halle’s piercingly bright soprano that compliment each other so well. The Kids Are Alright is an album that’s decidedly Generation Z. Rather than fitting into the mold of traditional R&B, it dips into Indie, Hip-Hop, and even Rock at some points. Lyrically, Chloe x Halle exemplify our upcoming generation with lyrics that moan about a broken society but ultimately believe that “there are still cool people in the world”.

 

Blooming Days

Artist: EXO-CBX

Genres: Kpop; Kr&b

Release Date: April 10

Favorite Tracks: Sweet Dreams; Thursday; Blooming Day

Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin have been a dynamic trio since the beginning of EXO’s first sub-unit. Blooming Days, however, really drives home just how much musical chemistry they have. The album’s days-of-the-week concept is fresh without feeling contrived and the decidedly R&B direction feels just right for this sub-unit. There are slow melancholy tracks like Monday, sweet laid back tracks like Playdate, and of course those classic EXO flirty numbers like Blooming Day and Vroom Vroom. Each member gets to shine in his own unique way and we get a front-row seat to see who EXO-CBX truly is.

 

Lost & Found

Artist: Jorja Smith

Genres: R&B; Soul

Release Date: June 8

Favorite Tracks: Teenage Fantasy; Blue Lights; Don’t Watch Me Cry

When I first heard Jorja Smith’s voice I was instantly hooked on her deep soulful tone. Her music reminded me of Adele’s: longing, mournful, and tinged with heartbreak. But it was charged with wokeness and social commentary. Lost & Found continues in that vein. But not only do we hear her beautiful tones we hear expert lyricism especially in her Lifeboats Freestyle. Each track is unique in it’s lyrics and music but they paint a cohesive picture because of the longing that is evident in each. Longing for lost love, satisfying truth, and a just world.

 

Love Yourself Tear

Artist: BTS

Genres: Kpop; Kr&b; Khip-hop

Release Date: May 18

Favorite Tracks: The Truth Untold; Paradise; Anpanman

In this 3rd studio album from BTS we get the best elements of the first two: that hip-hop aggression of Dark & Wild, and that introspective longing of Wings. This album shows the growth of BTS while still staying within that beautiful “Bangtan style”. This is exemplified subtly in how Suga whispers his name before his verses, how the intro track is completely in Korean, and how we have past and current songs connected like Attack on Bangtan and Anpanman. Although this release isn’t a concept album, it still stays committed to it’s theme of exploring the dark side of love. Thus, the album is decidedly darker in tone than Love Yourself: Her, with more of an R&B leaning. It explores Latin pop sounds in Airplane pt. 2, a tasteful use of autotune in Outro: Tear, and bumping electronic beats in Paradise. Tear also provides a space for every single member to shine, I definitely hear the vocalists’ growth in conveying emotion, and the rappers’ growth in embracing and honing their distinct style. Lyrically, BTS uses inspiration from folklore, fairytales, and personal experiences to craft a world in which we can loose ourselves.

 

Check out the playlist here:

Stay fly,

~Akilah

 

 

Music · Plots

Author’s Notes & Aux Cords: Animal Farm

So, I’m back with another Author’s Notes & Aux Cords because they’re just so much fun to write! If you missed my first one check it out here. And, you know the drill: beware of spoilers!

Today’s book is Animal Farm by George Orwell, hands-down my favorite required reading for my British Literature course of sophomore year. It’s a satirical novel, telling the story of a farm run by an oppressive farmer. The animals decide to take control of their situation and overthrow Mr. Jones, the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, assume authoritative roles and chaos ensues. This story tells the underlying story of a totalitarian government and a revolution. But it tells those truths using a classic animal story reminiscent of Charlotte’s Web or something similar. The narrative of Animal Farm tells transcends to any time period and any governmental system. It’s a quick read that’s sure to change your life. So, let’s look at the playlist!

Freedom | Lecrae ft. N’Dambi

“I’ma go pursue my happiness, they told me it was free
But I’m still payin’ for it, I’m indebted to this thing”

The animals on Manor Farm are fed up with life under Mr. Jones, so they stage a rebellion and take over the farm. After grasping their freedom, they believe happiness will follow. However, years later, they’re still oppressed and working harder than ever under the rule of Napoleon the pig.

Wake Me Up | B.A.P

“자각해 타락해버린 진실
분열된 주체 속의 껍질”

“Be aware of the corrupt truth
And the outer layer of the broken subjects”

Napoleon lives off of broken subjects and corrupt truth. The animals aren’t aware of his lies and they’re vulnerable. They’ve been hurt for so long that they want answers, and Napoleon comes along at the right time and in the right way, providing empty solutions

Alexander Hamilton | Hamilton: An American Musical

“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came”

Because many of the farm animals can’t read, the pigs can keep changing the commandments of animalism to uphold their motives. In addition, the animals neglect to pass down their history to their offspring. Eventually, there are young animals that don’t remember life under Mr. Jones or the rebellion. Some of the animals’ grief and oppression could be solved if they knew their history and knew how to read.

Get It Together | India Arie

“Dark future ahead of me
That’s what they said
I’d be starving if I ate all the lies they fed”

Believing Squealer, the animals consume the propaganda that tells them they’re better off than before. When in reality they’re starving while the pigs are getting fat, filling them with fear of the future.

No More Dream | BTS

“But 사실은 I dun have any big dreams
하하 난 참 편하게 살어
꿈 따위 안 꿔도 아무도 뭐라 안 하잖어
전부 다다다 똑가같이
나처럼 생각하고 있어”

“But actually, I don’t have any big dreams
Haha, I live quite comfortably
Even if I don’t dream, no one says anything
Everyone is thinking
the same way as me”

Gone are the days when the animals had ambitions for a better life. Now, the citizens of Animal Farm have lost their dreams and are eating the mass of lies that the pigs feed them. None of them question, none of them dare to think differently, none of them refuse the lies, they all think the same thoughts.

Clarity | Andy Mineo

“All I, all I want is clarity, clarity
‘Cause all of my heroes are frauds just like me, just like me
So let every man be a liar, let only God be truth
And all of your heroes are frauds just like you”

At the end of the narrative, the animals witness the pigs, who spoke ill of humans, the pigs, who promised a better life, the pigs, who led them to their future, turn into men right before their eyes. Sadly, the animals’ heroes become frauds in front of them.

This book is amazing and I could fangirl about it all day so leave something in the comments if you’re a fan of Animal Farm.

Here’s the playlist, I’d encourage you to take a listen even if you don’t like Animal Farm because these are good quality bops.

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Music · Plots

Author’s Notes & Aux Cords: This Side of Home

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Music and books are two of my favorite things, so when I had the idea to combine them I couldn’t wait. This series is where I create playlists of songs that remind me of or match with my favorite books. First up is This Side of Home by Renee Watson. If you want more general info about this book and author check out this post. Also, this post contains some mild spoilers since I’m discussing the plot along with the songs, so please be aware. Without further ado: the playlist!

 

17 | Mahalia

“But I’m tired of hiding for the benefit of my peers
What’s so wrong with shining?
Why’ve you got so much fear?”

The main characters of this narrative: Maya and Nikki are 17 in the story. Maya especially feels as if she’s hiding because she dates a white guy and doesn’t believe her friends will approve, especially because they see her and she sees herself as a very woke activist-minded type of person. As the narrative progresses she develops more security in who she is and realizes that who she dates doesn’t change who she is.

Ma City | BTS

“I don’t know what to say 나 죽어도 말 못해
내게 억만 금을 주고 딴 데 살라고?
ah no thanks”

“I don’t know what to say. Even if I die, I can’t say it
Even if you give me a hundred thousand dollars to live somewhere else
ah no thanks”

As Portland becomes more and more gentrified, Maya and Nikki come to grips with what it means to love and support their city. Although economically, it may be better to sell their house and move on, their hearts belong to Portland and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Put Your Records On | Corinne Bailey Rae

“Maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it’s alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change
Don’t you think it’s strange?”

When the twins were children, they made plans with their friend Essence to attend Spelman College all together. As they get older though, Essence moves away, the twins move farther apart, and their lives move forward in different directions. Maya thinks she’s stayed the same and all the things around her have changed.

Bubbles | Jamila Woods

“Black girl be in a bubble, bubble
Floating quietly out of trouble, trouble
They call you shy
Always ask why you listen before you speak”

This book deals a lot with Maya’s experience as a black girl, always having to hold back, answer others questions and deal with consequences for speaking up. She has the heart of an activist though and although she is in a sort of a “bubble” she manages to pop it over time.

Younger | Seinabo Sey

“There is a light to all this darkness if only we
Fight against them telling us how we should be
I refuse to have you break me
When you know you ain’t getting any”

I thought this song fit, first of all because the twins last name is Younger. But more than that, this story deals with gentrification and the effects of that on Maya, Nikki, and their neighborhood. As more white and Latina students move into their school zone, their principal starts to give special treatment to those students and doing things like cutting the Black history program in favor of a diversity fair. Maya and her friends fight back against this and refuse to simply accept the unfair treatment in their neighborhood and school.

Here’s the link to the Spotify playlist if you want to check it out, and feel free to follow me on Spotify!

 

Leave a comment below telling me what you thought about the playlist. If you’ve read the book, do you think my choices fit?

Stay fly,

~Akilah

Life · Music · Palates · Pleats · Plots

What Went Down ~January + Monthly Mixtape

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What’s good guys?

I’m bringing back my monthly wrap ups that I left behind somewhere in 2017. It was a conscious decision to stop them but now it’s time for them to come back. So, here’s what went down in January.

Food

  • We ate at Uncle Julio’s and it’s still amazing
  • We had Pizza Perfect pizza
  • We ate wings at Gordon’s (those were bomb and I’ll be doing a post on them soon.)
  • We cooked a lot of Thai, Korean, and Chinese foods (what else is new?)
  • I baked sugar cookies and brownies

 

Fashion

My Kpop merch came in!!! I bought an EXO sweatshirt and a BTS t-shirt, I also bought my sister a Monsta X sweatshirt for her late Christmas gift. I’ll be doing a lookbook in the future so look for that sometime.

January was a huge month for shows: I especially loved Menswear ’18 this season specifically Etro, Undercover, and Joseph.

 

Books

I completed three books this month for my British literature course

  • A Tale of Two Cities ~Charles Dickens
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ~Lewis Carroll
  • Favorite Father Brown Stories ~G.K Chesterton

I absolutely loved A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens’ writing style is eloquent with hints of dry humor, which I adore. The French revolution is the perfect backdrop of this narrative and it’s amazing to see the philosophy behind this tumultuous time in history.

 

Life

I turned 16 this month!!! I had a great beginning to my celebrations: dinner with family then friends over on Friday night. It’s not over yet though, look forward to something special birthday related coming soon.

Also, I bought my first ever Kpop albums this month, I feel like the obsession is solidified now. I bought BTS’ Wings, EXO’s The War, and Monsta X’s The Code.

I binge watched Project Runway on Hulu this month. I didn’t realize how much I missed Tim Gunn, the heightened melodrama, and that infamous runway.

And as I’m writing this on the final day of January, I’m sick. It kind of sucks because my sister was sick earlier this month and I managed to not catch it. But my body has finally succumbed.

 

Kpop

I’m adding this section because I think I need to chat about Kpop every month, send help, I can’t stop.

SM Entertainment posthumously released Jonghyun’s album Poet | Artist

This album is gold, truly poetry and art. All the tracks are spectacular, I’m partial to Only One You Need and Sightseeing. Jonghyun you did so, so well.

Monsta X released their Japanese MV Spotlight

It’s lit, you need it in your life, also Jooheon is totally bias wrecking me.

JBJ released the My Flower MV

I love this song and the choreography so much. Also Hyunbin’s rap is spectacular, if you want to know why he’s my bias this will tell you why.

iKON returned with Return (I’m amazing) and the MV Love Scenario

This choreography is amazing, but does it bother anyone else the way he pronounces “scenario”?

iKON also released the Beautiful dance practice

I love this song and Junhoe’s voice is gorgeous here. Also, the dance is lit

VAV released Spotlight

I actually started stanning them right before this comeback and finished memorized the members two days before. The aesthetics of this video are on point! All the lighting, colors, and dance scenes are magical. They’re underrated for no reason so show them some love.

Sunmi released Heroine

Oh my gosh this video is amazing! First of all her outfits are gorgeous, second the song is life, and third the dance is spectacular. I love the charisma she has in this song, Gashina was amazing but I think I like this even better.

EXO released their Japanese album Countdown

I’ve listened through the album once and it’s pretty good, Electric Kiss is so amazing and I’ve been addicted to the dance practice. Of the other tracks however, Into My World is my favorite.

Finally, what I think is most exciting: BTS is supposed to release an album sometime in early 2018!!! I still haven’t recovered from Love Yourself: Her, the AMAs, Mic Drop Remix, The Wings Final, or their Vogue video. Now, I have to save some money for this upcoming album.

I think that’s it, there was a lot so hopefully I didn’t forget anything.

 

January Mixtape

In my journal, I’ve started keeping track of what songs I’m obsessed with in each month so here’s January:

Lady Luck ~EXO

Heroine ~Sunmi

Lullabies ~Yuna

Fantasy ~JBJ

Rhythm Ta ~iKON

Only One You Need ~Jonghyun

Come and Get Me ~Lecrae

Rewind ~Zhoumi

 

Stay fly,

Akilah

 

 

 

Music

Kpop Comebacks Review –September

Kpop comebacks were lit this month, so I thought it would be fun to review some that I watched/listened to and enjoyed. I’m evaluating the music videos in five categories: concept, aesthetics/cinematography, fashion/beauty, choreography, and song. I’ll be discussing my thoughts in each of these categories, giving a one to five rating in each one, and then granting an overall score out of a possible 25.
BAP: Honeymoon

Concept: This video sparked lots of questions for me as it refers to the concept. Why is Yongguk’s hand bleeding? Why is Zelo trapped in the dark while the other members are on the island? And what’s with the TV in the forest? If y’all have any answers to these questions or if you can direct me to a fan theory that does, definitely comment below. Anyway, I enjoyed the classy/elegant concept in this video. (3)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: Scenery wise, this MV was probably the most stunning I’ve ever seen. I believe it was filmed on Jeju Island and I appreciate the move from a warehouse/garage/set that most groups tend to go for to an outdoor area. The aerial shots were killer and the editing was on point. (5)

Fashion/Beauty: Mullets reigned in this concept, and I have to say I am not a fan. I didn’t like the way Yongguk’s hair was styled at the table scene in the end but in the forest parts it was cool. Youngjae gets props for looking classy and not succumbing to the mullet pressure. And the all white end looks truly saved the day. (2)

Choreography: There was no dance at all in the MV, not even a head bop, but a couple of days later we received a lit dance practice. Jongup definitely came to slay this choreo with Michael Jackson-esque moves and he came mullet-less yay! The synchronicity is on point and the sweeping line dance move in the first chorus floors me every single time. Unfortunately, this video is an excellent example of a Kpop pet peeve of mine: unnecessary back-up dancers. All the members were trained in and are competent in dance. Why do we need extra people to muddy the waters? (4)

Song: With a breezy, chill feel, this song quickly became a current favorite of mine. The whistling at the beginning and the chord changes in the bridge are wonderful. Jongup’s vocal performance was flawless . I was also intrigued by the position of Yongguk’s rap, putting it at the end rather than in a verse was a nice touch. (5)

Total: 19

Pentagon –Like This

Concept: Parking lots and apples? I don’t really know but there seems to be pain and difficulty here, especially looking at the lyrics with the video. (2)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: I like the use of different locations and lighting techniques. Also E’Dawn’s car scene displayed excellent angles. (4)

Fashion/Beauty: Pentagon is a group where generally all the members look amazing in many concepts. Jinho with blonde hair worked and Yan An lived up to his status as official visual. Wooseok with a hat was a look, but underneath the hat his fluffy, shaggy hair cut irritates me to no end. Bangs don’t suit Yeo One well in my opinion but he rocked them considering. The real star in the visual department for me this comeback (and kind of every comeback) is Yuto da! His black parted hair is my favorite look of his so far, it really frames his face well and looks natural. (4)

Choreography: The amazingly talented Kino choreographed this dance and he killed it. In terms of choreography it’s probably my favorite of the September comebacks, yes, even over BTS’ DNA. Like This showcases a powerful yet graceful style that I admire. It’s nice to see such emotionally charged choreograpy like this (see what I did there). The use of slow motion at the bridge is masterfully done so it doesn’t seem cheesy. My absolute favorite move is the one in the chorus at “weonan dan hanaye becheul” it expertly shows all the emotion in that line through movement, so even before I looked up the English lyrics I could sense the desperation and determination. (5)

Song: This song is essentially about determination “Even if I fall and my knees bleed, I’ll keep on running like this.” It’s a beautiful message backed by a beautiful vocal performance. The line distribution is impeccable, especially for a ten member group and the ratio of rap to vocal doesn’t feel uneven at all. I especially love how the positioning of E’Dawn’s energetic rap breaks up the songs mellow feel. (5)

Total: 20

BTS –DNA

Concept: This concept is fun and bright but with enough of a hardcore feel. It’s perfectly and totally Bangtan. (4)

Aesthetics/Cinematography: The camera angles at the beginning of JK’s whistle, the use of shadow in the choreo scenes, and the vibrant colors make this MV pop. It’s an excellent example of gorgeous cinematography, all you artists need to get a pen and take a seat. (5)

Fashion/Beauty: Taehyung with gray hair, Jungkook with a part again, Yoongi somehow slaying powder blue, Jin’s black hair making an appearance, and Namjoon with rust colored hair made this a lit era. J-Hope’s color was nice but the bangs aren’t my favorite. Let me know if you want to sign my petition: Bring Back Hoseok’s Forehead. Jimin’s “noodle” hair looked rather strange to me even though it was poppin’ in Serendipity. In terms of fashion, Tae gets an award for best dressed but I love Kookie’s silk shirt and Yoongi’s tank and button down combo (which I recreated here). Honestly, all the looks were lit in this MV, even Hoseok’s jersey over sweatshirt look grew on me. (4)

Choreography: We saw classic Bangtan with pelvic thrusts and head bopping, but we saw lots of fresh takes on the choreograpy. Taehyung did a sweet solo, Jin was the center in a dance scene (he’s come so far), and J-Hope slayed the ending. I love the part where they link hands in a formation and the ending “la, la” dance especially. (5)

Song: This song is so catchy. Everyone shines with JK slaying pre-chorous, Tae singing in his low register, Jimin’s breathy vocal coming through, and Jin’s sweet soft voice. Our rap line came with it too: J-Hope’s excited tone and Namjoon’s aggressive one contrast perfectly. Yoongi rapped a lot in this song and I couldn’t be happier, and there’s nothing more adorable than his pronunciation of “real love”. The bass line was poppin, especially in the second verse, and the whistling of the melody was an ingenious way to make sure that every single ARMY is hypnotized by this bop. One of my favorite things about older eras of Bangtan was Jungkook rapping and we got our golden maknae showing his gifts once again in this song, and no I didn’t forget about our Chim Chim because he slayed his rap too. I can’t forget that Namjoon and Yoongi co-wrote this song. I’m so proud, BTS fighting! (5)

Total: 23

I watched a lot of comebacks in September so if you want to see a part 2 featuring B1A4, EXO, Lay, and others comment down below. Also be sure to tell me your thoughts on these comebacks if you’ve seen them and if you haven’t tell me your favorite song release of September, Kpop or otherwise.
Stay fly,
~Akilah