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Saturday, January 31, 2015

K-Poppin! : Underrated 2014 Rookie Artists

2014 has been a wonderful journey to many of us, same thing happens to the K-pop scene as well. This year marks the debut of so so so many rookie artists. It was that much til the number exceeded 100 artists this year! How crazy is that! The fact that the number of rookie artists debuting this year is that much, I'm sorry to say, but it is pretty hard to stand out or to make one group differ from another.

(image via SBS Entertainment)
While in 2013, the BIG 3 (SM, YG and JYP) did not debut any groups, this year all three companies debuted four groups, making the competition between rookies become more heated. Pictured above is GOT7 from JYP Entertainment who debuted with 'Girls, Girls, Girls'. The girl group from SM Entertainment, Red Velvet debuted with a cheerful track, 'Happiness'. And the other boy group comes from YG Entertainment is WINNER who is previously known as Team A from the reality show WIN and now debuted with 'Empty'. Also, woolim who has now merged with SM C&C debuted their own girl group, Lovelyz with the song 'Good Night Like Yesterday'. Not pictured above is another debut from YG Entertainment, the siblings duo who won the second season of K-pop Star, Akdong Musician kicked off the K-pop scene with their playful song, '200%'. 

If you are not really into K-pop, you might have heard about the groups I mentioned previously, but I am not very sure if you have heard the artists I am going to cover below. Well, without further ado, let's check out these underrated 2014 K-pop artists!

1. Kiss & Cry - Domino Game

Kiss&Cry is one of the group that I discovered early in 2014. I have that habit to listen to new song from artists that caught my attention without actually watching the MV. As one of the first of rookie groups in 2014, I grew to love 'Domino Game' every time I listen to it. The song is powerful and it showcases the vocal of the members as well. Unfortunately the future of Kiss&Cry is still questionable. Some have said that they have been disbanded but the other has said that only one of the member, Haena has ended her contract ((and later joined Superstar K6)), either ways, best of luck for Kiss&Cry!

2. MAMAMOO - Mr. Ambiguous

While the mainstream K-pop listener might not know about this group, many others have showed so much appreciation and appraisal for these ladies. I first knew this group from the song called 'Peppermint Chocolate' sung by K.Will ((note: I did not always follow K.Will but every time he released a new song, I will definitely listen to it)). But honestly, that song did not really leave an impression to me, and I did not watch the MV either. But then, some weeks later, I stumbled upon a Path update from my friend who was listening to MAMAMOO and gave a lot of compliment to this group. It is not until I listened to the song and watched the MV ((which featured lots, lots of artists)) that I finally understood how much they were praised. They have an amazing vocal; both recording and live, the right dance moves and classy concept/appearance/style ((i just can't decide the right vocab))

3. HIGH4 - Headache

Many people recognized HIGH4 from their pre-debut song with IU, 'Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossom', which is indeed really, really cute and romantic. That's what happened with me as well. I loved their vocal and concept and they reminded me a little of SHINee and B1A4 somehow. And I did watch some of their awkward interviews and I can't help but giggle at how awkward Alex is ((sorry, Alex! haha)). Though that dancing-only part on the song made me go like duh especially in the MV, but I still love these guys. I hope they will make it big in the future!

4. Yoon Hyun Sang - Always Be With You

Discovering Yoon Hyun Sang is like discovering a hidden gem! I really mean it! Year 2014 was all about groups and collaboration, so it is rather hard for a solo rookie artist to stand out, in my opinion. I really found Yoon Hyun Sang again thanks to IU. For his debut, he had two title tracks which was this one and 'When Would It Be' featuring none other than IU. Hyun Sang has a very soothing voice that is perfect for the rainy weather in my city nowadays. I listened to his songs almost everyday and it gets more intense when it rains outside or when I am about to sleep. The whole mini-album is worth to be checked, I promise you!

5. Almeng - Phone in Love

While Yoon Hyun Sang was the contestant of Kpop Star 1, Almeng is another notable alumni but this one from Kpop Star 3. This unique co-ed duo is a bit unique because in most of duo or duet, the boy usually does the rap and the girl does the vocal. But for Almeng, it is vice versa. Therefore, they are giving more fresh and interesting spice to the usual K-pop music. Also, both their debut MV a fun concept. I love how they incorporated words and typography into the MVs.

Well, those are five rookie artists that I think you should listen if you really had no idea how to jump into the 2014 debuts bandwagon or if you simply want to kill your boredom. For more girl and boy group debuts, you can check out the article posted by soompi that fully covered the debut of Kpop groups in 2014 here. Meanwhile, I have compiled a playlist that included all the songs that I have mentioned here as well as some other debuting artists that I have listened but not on my list yet. Because seriously, 100+ artists can be super overwhelming.

Also, I realized that I have talked about MAMAMOO and HIGH4 before in the previous K-Poppin article. Another also, Lucky J and B.I.G from that article are included in the playlist as well.

Phew, this article took much more time to write than I expected since I did not plan to include a playlist initially, but I am glad I finished it. Hope you guys enjoy!

Cheers, filicia!

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