Aaaand it’s out. (Updated with track-by-track review.)

30 Sexy:

La Song:

credits: LOEN Entertainment YouTube channel

Random thoughts:

1. I initially thought that 30 Sexy was something Justin Timberlake-ish. It turns out, it’s more like vintage JY Park, with a dash of Earth, Wind and Fire. (I get it, Ji Hoon. You like September.)

2. I really wanna give the Rain in the La Song MV a quick shower.

3. La Song is catchy but a bit difficult to appreciate, especially for those who are not into hip hop.

4. These two songs do not showcase Rain’s vocals at all. So sad. :sad: I wish they balanced it out by releasing a dance song and a ballad or slow RnB, just like how he usually does it. I think he still doesn’t realize that his fans love him the most for his voice even if that’s what the survey said in his latest fanmeet.

5. I suddenly super-duper-miss my super-manly “Rain’s World” era Rain. :sad:

6. There are random sightings of chicken/poultry in La Song, and they’re being slaughtered along with the pig. :err: Why, Ji Hoon? Why??? :cry:

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Here’s the album cover:

raineffect

The album jacket is old school Big Bang. :neutral: Someone’s lacking in creative juices… :hopeless:

#NimbusCloudForever

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Update:

I gave it a chance and listened to one of the slower tracks called Dear Mama Don’t Cry. I’m so sorry, Ji Hoon, but I have to cry. :cry: What have you done to your lovely voice??? Where’s the full, husky tone that we loved? Whose freakin’ idea was this??? I wanna :chair: !!!!

I’m sorry, but I can’t listen to this any further. I just can’t. This is not the Rain I know.

I guess I should be held responsible. I posted my psychic’s advice on this blog, urging Rain to reinvent himself. But dude, when Ann said ‘reinvent’, she didn’t mean adopt a dated and dirty concept, and change your voice to something that closely resembles Alvin and the Chipmunks. :ayaw:

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Update 2:

In the interest of fairness, I decided to listen to the whole album. It won’t hurt to try, right? Right?

Famous last words.

I’m not sure if the tracks I listened to were just encoded in low quality which resulted to the songs sounding like it’s very badly produced. His voice sounded like galvanized iron being cut into pieces in some of the tracks. :ayaw: Unless it was intentional and he actually intended to sound like Park Jin Young, at which I wanna slap him silly because NO, Ji Hoon. Just NO. :ayaw: Compared to his post-JYPE releases, namely Rainism and Back to the Basic (I don’t even need to mention the Japanese album Eternal Rain which impressed even our local record executives for its super-polished production values), Rain Effect sounded very amateurish, production-wise.

My overall impression of the album, including the MVs: it’s like Rain is auditioning to be a YG artist. The album cover is nearly identical to 2ne1’s first album (I realized that I initially wrote that it’s old school Big Bang, until I remembered later on that it’s actually 2ne1, not Big Bang). The ‘clap clap clap’ in 30sexy should’ve reminded me of the clap-clap-clap in With U, but instead reminded me so much of Seungri’s Strong Baby. His choreography, MV concept and the use of electronica/house fused with RnB looks and feels like he’s a wannabe G-Dragon, except that he ended up looking and sounding like Park Jin Young. Rain, there’s a reason why G-Dragon is into that kind of music. It’s because G-Dragon doesn’t have the singing voice that you have. GD’s voice is meant for electronica. Your voice, not so much.

I haven’t read the lyrics to any of the songs, but there really is no need for that. Listening to the album is like watching an episode of Teletubbies or any of those shows geared towards kids aged 3 and below. I mean, there should be a reason why the lyrics has to be repeated over and over and over just to fill out 3+ minutes of each track. It usually works when you’re aiming for marketability, but repeated lyrics has to be coupled with an overall catchy song in order to minimize the annoyance.

It saddens me that Rain is the one credited to writing all of the lyrics. I suddenly miss the genius of My Way and Love Story.

Here’s a track by track rundown:

01. Rain Effect – the 30-second intro is a nice, intriguing opening track. However, the intrigue stops there. Well, at least it opened nicely.

02. 30 Sexy – JYP, is that you? This one sounds like a mash-up of several songs (like the previously mentioned September by EWF). The sound is very 80s pop. It’s one of the more listenable tracks in the album, though.

03. La Song – I found the secret to appreciating this song: don’t watch the MV. My initial assessment was right. The beat is very catchy, I found myself bobbing along to the song. (Yes, Agent P was broken again by this song.)

04. μ–΄λ”” κ°€μš”. 였빠 (Oppa, Where Are You?) feat. Hyuna – My ears! My ears! :cry: :bop:

No, Ji Hoon. Just… NO. :nono:

Most – ok, ALL – of the people I know who listened to this song universally hated it. Some lamented about the choice of Hyuna as ‘duet’ (what duet? They didn’t sing!) partner. Well, she only moaned and said ‘oppa, oppa’, so she’s actually perfect for this.

05. Marilyn Monroe – They said there’s always a hidden gem in a pile of rubbish. In this case, it’s Marilyn Monroe. :thumbup: This song is vintage Rain. It’s quite nice to the ears. It showcased his beautiful voice. It also sounds like one or two of his previous slow RnB songs (eg. Love Is from the Rainism album), and it’s still not anywhere near as good as those songs, but compared to the rest of the album, this one is The Bomb. It actually warranted a couple of repeat listens from me. [Edit] I was told that this song is written for You-Know-Who, but for some reason, when I think of Marilyn Monroe, the image that enters my head is this one.

06. 차에 타봐 (Baby) – one of the more decent tracks. Listenable, but a bit forgettable.

07. Superman – I call this one, “Ode to G-Dragon”. Too electronica for my taste. Does not showcase how good Rain is a singer, at all. But if you’re into that kind of noise music, maybe you’ll like it.

08. μ•Œμ•„λ²„λ Έμ–΄ – Very 80s-sounding. Another forgettable track. Nothing special to offer.

09. Dear Mama Don’t Cry – OK, as I’ve said, I haven’t read the lyrics so I don’t know exactly what this song is about. Is ‘Mama’ referring to his mom, or to Mama Bear some other person he calls ‘Mama’? It doesn’t sound like it’s for his mom, because the way he sang it is like he’s begging for sexy time. :err: I also absolutely HATE his voice here. It sounded so thin and galvanized iron-like.

[Update] I’ve just read the English translation of the lyrics and it turned out, the song is for his mother. The lyrics are quite touching, actually, but as I said, the way he sang it is like he’s begging for sexy time. There’s a sort of disconnect with the lyrics and the way it was sang. I find this a bit off because I still remember the old Rain who sang μ΅μˆ™μΉ˜ μ•Šμ•„μ„œ (Can’t Get Used To It) and while listening to it, you can feel your heart breaking even if you don’t really know what the lyrics are.

10. 30 Sexy (East4A Deeptech Mix) – Remixing this song doesn’t make it any better. But then, I’m not a fan of remixes. But then again, I find that Bad Guy Remix improved on the original, so… what was my point again?

Ultimately, the one thing that this album lacks is SOUL. It’s just a mish-mash of beats, (sort of) melodies and repeated lyrics that don’t make much sense. Rain has lost the heart and soul that is embedded in his previous albums, particularly the ones he produced after he left JYPE.

All in all, this is my verdict: if you want to support Rain, go ahead and buy this album for the sake of helping him top the charts. (But against TVXQ? Good luck with that.) But I honestly think that anyone who has not listened to Rain before would either not like him, or would totally get the wrong idea about the kind of music he does. For all of us who waited nearly four years for his comeback album, this one is a major disappointment.

Rain Effect, Episode 1.

realrain

This question was posed at the teaser trailer of Rain Effect that was shown at the 2013 MAMA Awards. Would they really answer this question through a reality show?

Those of us Clouds who knew Rain a little more than most fans and ordinary followers of Korean entertainment had the answer as soon as they showed footage of the Samseong-dong house at the teasers: one. big. NO. :notalk: (Sorry, I can’t explain it openly at the blog; if you ask me in private, I might answer you. :razz: )

It took me a few days before I was able to watch Episode 1 in full. One, the Mnet YouTube link does not work in my country. Two, the alternative YouTube links were immediately nuked by Mnet. Three, the torrent link that I saw was worth almost 4 gigabytes. With my internet acting up, it would take me until next year just to download Episode 1. (Granted that ‘next year’ is just in a few days, though…) Fortunately, the other alternative streaming links went by unnoticed by the powers-that-be, so I was finally able to leech it.

However, as soon as I reached that part where Rain doesn’t even know how to work the appliances in his own house, I had to stop before my eyeballs fall out of its sockets. Not knowing how to work the TV is one thing – it’s actually normal, given how complicated these entertainment systems can be – but Rain, the food addict, not knowing how to open the door of his own fridge? C’mon! :nono:

Little by little, I was able to finish the whole episode, albeit while multi-tasking. (It might be a different story if it had English subs.) Basically, if you’re someone who hasn’t seen an episode of Mnet Japan Rainy Day, nor hasn’t seen the numerous Rain documentaries in the past (the 2005 one is a good example) nor hasn’t come upon one of those, uh, “unauthorized” :phew: fancams, you might really enjoy it. You might even think that this is an insight to the ‘real’ Rain that we haven’t seen before. But for someone like me who has seen all these (and then some), it’s nothing new. In fact, it could get a bit boring. :sleep: For me, Rain Effect is Mnet Rainy Day with more cameras and lesser ‘reality’. :shutup:

I gotta say, though, there were a few moments that had me really :lmao: In particular, the airport scenes. :blink: I have a good feeling that I would be laughing my head off in the succeeding episodes, given that Episode 2 will be focusing on his filming in Hollywood. :neutral: No, I’m not referring to him speaking in English. I’m actually looking forward to it, just to see if his English has improved.

Also, I would be looking forward to *ehem* the good stuff. :naughty:

raineffectep2preview

I might even download the super-HD version because of this. :hihihi:

It’s time for some mini-reviews.

Random comments on stuff I’ve seen in the past week or two:

Hormones: The Confused Teens (Thai drama)

hormones1

I got curious about this Thai drama because I’ve been seeing it being mentioned at one of the forums I go to. The fact that it was often described as something that will never be allowed to be shown on Philippine primetime TV piqued my curiosity even more. Thankfully, English-subbed episodes have been uploaded on YouTube and that’s how I was able to watch it.

Hormones is actually a spin-off of a movie of the same title which was released in 2008 and is one of Thailand’s biggest hits, both commercially and critically. It is created by the same director and features some of the same actors as the movie. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I read that while it revolves around the same plot as the drama, the story and characters are not the same.

The plot is very basic: a story about high school students and how they cope with issues surrounding young people of today. It’s a plot that’s been done and redone in so many dramas, but I’m not sure if any TV drama in Asia has been gutsy enough to present it this way. They openly discuss sex – they even have a couple of main characters here who does it so casually, your Asian sensibilities might be appalled at the fact that the character’s age is only 17 – and other vices such as smoking and drinking, and even violent gang fights over the most trivial matters. But we all know that things like these are happening in real life, but very few are willing to discuss it openly on TV. Well, in Asia, anyway.

The amusing part is, the drama openly talks about issues on sexuality, school bullying and the like, but in scenes where the young characters were seen smoking or drinking, they blur the cigs and booze out. :hihihi: And here I thought the censors in our country are the most ridiculous kind. However, it’s interesting to note that this topic – scenes of smoking and drinking being censored on TV even if kids can see it in their everyday lives, anyway – was actually tackled on the drama. They dared to show what’s really happening in the minds of most kids of today.

One might think that Hormones is for kids because of the high school set-up, but really, it’s not. I found myself getting engrossed with it. I did find the ending a bit too bitin (I actually blurted out, “that’s it???” when it ended) but I read that there will be a Season 2 (there should be, because half of the characters still haven’t resolved their issues) that will air in February 2014. I’ll just have to wait for it, then.

PS: For those who watch dramas mainly for visual reasons, you will be delighted to know that there is enough eye candy here to keep your attention. :naughty: They might be too young, though.

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Rough Play (aka. An Actor Is An Actor)

lee-joon-movie-poster-092313

Rough Play is the first Korean full-length movie of MBLAQ’s Lee Joon (whose first movie, as we all know, is Ninja Assassin). The movie is written and produced by acclaimed director Kim Ki Duk.

From the moment I saw him as the young Raizo in Ninja Assassin, I knew that Lee Joon is a good actor. I’ve always wondered why he hasn’t been cast in more dramas and movies. His eyes alone can do the acting for him. His character here, Oh Young (which kinda distracted me because Oh Young is also Song Hye Kyo’s name in That Winter), is an actor who experienced instant success due to his acting chops but wasn’t able to handle it well. The role calls for a young actor who can really act, and Lee Joon delivered. :thumbup: The movie, itself, can be tedious to watch and it screams, “this is a serious movie, and is meant for viewing by serious moviegoers”- it is a Kim Ki Duk film, after all – but shallow viewers like me will still be able to enjoy it because… Lee Joon got naked and has several bed scenes, and he didn’t disappoint there, too. :naughty:

I bet the sentence in italics would be more than enough to sell this movie.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

TheHungerGamesCatcingFire

I’m a huge fan of the books. I was not disappointed with the first movie, but as a book adaptation I wasn’t completely satisfied, neither. With Catching Fire, I was left speechless. I have no complaints at all. :clap: The movie was about 85% faithful to the books, but the diversions were cohesively done that I didn’t have any objections towards them. The addition of President Snow’s granddaughter, for example, was a nice touch. Catching Fire is definitely better than the first movie, although non-book readers who only depended on the movies for continuity might not completely appreciate it. When I saw the movie, I was seated in front of a group of people who didn’t read the books, and I was thisclose to answering their questions whenever they get confused. But I loved it when they gasped “oh no!” when, [SPOILER] at the hovercraft after Katniss was taken from the arena after it exploded, she opened a door and found Haymitch and Finnick with Plutarch Heavensbee. It was the exact reaction that should be elicited from that scene, at least for non-book readers. Glad to know that it worked.

Jennifer Lawrence is just too, too awesome as Katniss Everdeen. I could never imagine any other actress doing that role with such passion and precision. And her onscreen chemistry with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is so amazing, even with the height difference. They made it work. :thumbup:

Can’t wait for Mockingjay!

Mini-review: Secretly, Greatly.

Secretly-Greaty-4

1. My main reason for watching this is Kim Soo Hyun. You might think it’s not worth watching because he looks like a dork in the movie but I tell you, you’ll be missing a lot, eye-candy-wise, if you miss this movie. There’s quite a bit of abs-flashing going on in a couple of scenes. :drool2: And Kim Soo Hyun in military garb looks absolutely dashing. :wub:

2. That abs-flashing scene actually reminds me of Raizo in Ninja Assassin, and the fact that they have very similar hairstyles certainly helped.

3. Warning to those who are planning to watch this: unless you have guts of steel, never watch this while eating.

4. I don’t know if I’m just not seeing enough Park Ki Woong dramas/movies, but he seems to be playing similar roles in nearly all of his acting projects. He has already mastered the happy-go-lucky character.

5. The first part of the movie is hilarious, but it made a sudden turn to being a straight-up action-drama towards the middle until the end. It’s a bit off-putting to me. I literally dozed off and had to pause to take a nap before I finished it up two hours later. But that’s just me because I’m not really fond of action movies.

6. The movie’s premise basically rode on what we have observed when we listened to the North Korean defector’s story during our Panmunjeom tour last year: North Koreans were conditioned to believe that they are living under the best conditions possible. Once they experienced how it is to live outside of their home country, they realized that there could be something better.

7. The ending is a bit of a puzzler. Is it open-ended or not? I’ll keep it under wraps so as not to spoil future viewers. :smile:

Random Thoughts No. 84.

I haven’t seen my Voltes friends for quite some time now – I think the last one was during 2PM’s concert? – so last night, we found some time off our busy schedules (well, THEIR busy schedules :razz: ) to have a movie night.

it_takes

We saw today’s hottest movie, It Takes A Man And A Woman, the third installment of the hit movie series starring John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo. Everyone has seen it except me and Thet (Charity and Lou have seen it multiple times by this screening) so it’s one of those “we must see it to see what the fuss is all about” kind of things.

Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The script is witty and has so many laugh-out-loud moments without being slapstick, and at the same time there were so many scenes that will make you cry, mainly because John Lloyd Cruz will absolutely make you cry no matter how cold-hearted you are. On a personal level, I especially love the New York scenes because (1) NYC has always been my dream destination; and (2) nice shout out to Ricky Martin. :thumbup: I only have one complaint about it and that is: Sarah Geronimo’s wigs were so hideous and so distracting. :ayaw: I understood why she had to wear a hairpiece in her other scenes, but it’s totally unnecessary at the wedding scene where she had her hair up. And even with her hair up, the wig was still badly placed on her head. Her stylist on this movie should be :bop: unless it’s really their intention for the Laida character to have bad hair.

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After the movie, we looked for a place to hang out so we can update ourselves with what’s happening with our lives as well as celebrities’ lives. :hihihi: We were supposed to drive all the way to Tagaytay to get some cool air but it has become too late and our driver is already sleepy, so we ended up at a 7-Eleven instead. That 7-Eleven is located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, but it’s still a 7-Eleven. :P That is where we discovered that a convenience store like 7-Eleven is actually a good place to hang-out, for the following reasons:

1. It’s literally everywhere (unless you’re in a remote area, of course).
2. It’s cheaper to hang out there than at a coffee shop like Starbucks. An equivalent price of a tall cup of coffee will yield you a sandwich or a rice meal + drinks at a 7-Eleven. There’s a much wider variety of food to choose from, as well.
3. In the age of mobile internet and with most malls and ‘gimmick’ places now on WiFi, hanging out at an expensive coffee shop for the internet has become moot and academic.

Basically, most people only splurge for expensive coffee only to be ‘seen’. But for people like us who hang out to be with friends and not to be ‘seen’, we’d choose 7-Eleven over Starbucks any time.

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The things you find on the internet…

I was randomly surfing around and found this photo posted on one of the forums:

song-hye-kyo-makeup

One glimpse of it and I was like, “that signature on the lip conditioner looks so familiar…” So I clicked on the accompanying link and it turns out, Song Hye Kyo’s stylist used the limited edition MAC Viva Glam Ricky Lip Conditioner by Ricky Martin for the “Oh Young” style in That Winter, The Wind Blows. :eek:

Talk about my fandoms colliding without meaning to…

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The big news in Korea today that has nothing to do with war is, of course, Psy’s new single Gentleman.


credits: officialpsy at YouTube

The song itself is a little too ‘techno’ for my taste and it didn’t have the same hook that Gangnam Style has, but even Psy knows that Gangnam Style can never be matched so let’s just avoid comparing them.

Aside from the song, the other thing that people were anticipating with this new release is his follow up to the Gangnam Style horse dance. Which turned out to be… the Brown Eyed Girls’ Abracadabra dance. :neutral: It won’t be noticeable to those who are new to, or basically don’t care about K-pop other than Psy, but those of us who have been following K-pop for almost a decade now would immediately recognize it. We certainly did the first time we saw the Gentleman MV.

I just wonder if Psy or YG bought the rights to the routine from BEG? Is BEG’s GaIn being in the MV part of the deal to acquire permission to use the Abracadabra dance?