(Disclaimer: There was so much really good new music this week that it was hard to pick…so I let my 9 year old choose what I would write about. Please also check out Ravi, Day6, NCT, Seventeen, and like a million others.)
There are not a lot of coed groups in Kpop. That is a very rare and magical species that mostly consists of the one off single or mini album made by members of idol groups paired off as part of a side project. I am getting the feeling that we might see more of these mixed gender groups in the future, but for now, it just isn’t common. I think, at least in part, this has to do with the lust factor. It is really hard for the pre-pubescent brain to wrap itself around the fact that its bias is in a group with some slag who is probably all over him when they are off stage (I am speaking from the perspective of a female fan here…goes both ways, of course).
One way to get around this? Siblings. Akdong Musician are a pair of tiny, darling siblings that have been making music together since they were wee sprouts. You can tell. Lee Chanhyuk, the brother, writes, plays acoustic guitar, sings, and “raps” (I am using the word liberally here) while Lee Suhyun is touted as the lead vocalist…and boy, can this girl sing. I get the feeling that she does more behind the scenes than just belt out the tunes, but this is how they are billed. Their folky harmonies are exquisite. Though I have loved some of their songs far greater than others, there has not been a single release that I have disliked…and I am counting the commercial they did where they basically sang the Korean alphabet. So good.
AKMU, as they are commonly known, won K-Pop Star 2 and were immediately signed by YG. They have sold a ton of physical and digital albums and were lauded for their cover of Taeyang’s Eyes, Nose, Lips as part of the YG Cover Project. I recommend looking it up. Their latest release is a winter album called…well…Winter. Crazy, right? I have listened to the full album several times and as a whole, it is charming. They are just so talented. She is really the high point. The way she uses her voice just kills me sometimes. The first single released with an MV from this album is Last Goodbye, a – you guessed it- folky duet. It starts with a snippet of Canon in D that quickly moves into their song. Is this song hugely special, no, but their ‘not special’ is pretty damn great.
I am almost positive that if my brother and I had gone in the sibling musical duet direction it would be a lot like this…but with more sarcasm. And hitting. And dramatic group breakups.
As part of this post I have included a special bonus video because AKMU are so good at covers…they recently performed their own version of BlackPink’s Whistle at a coffee shop in Seoul. It is almost better than the original. Side note, I would do all sorts of unsavory things for her dress from this performance. So cute.
And, to add more salt to the wounds I have received in the last several months, Lee Chanhyuk has chosen to serve his time in the military early. He will be joining the marines in the not too distant future. He chose to go early and he chose to go into the most difficult branch. Stud.
Akdong Musician, Last Goodbye
Akdong Musician, Whistle