NewJeans – NewJeans First EP – New Jeans
The debut EP from NewJeans will likely go down as my #1 favourite release of 2022. Their throwback to the style of R&B/Pop that I grew up on (yes, I’m old enough to remember when this style of music was cool the first time) has a lot to do with that. Every track on this album is a winner, and I have nothing but praise for each one.
The only thing about this group that might be a little off-putting is their perhaps too-fresh image. These girls look very young; even the oldest in the group don’t look their age. But that was easy for me to get over, thanks to the quality of their music.
Sakurazaka46 – As you know?
Before their hiatus, I was not too fond of Keyakizaka46’s direction because they began to trend toward emo-idol pop rather than the lighter (and much happier) material they did at the start of their career.
Since the departure of their eternally gloomy center, Hirate Yurina and rebranding to Sakurazaka46, their music and image have taken a better turn for me.
I’m much more satisfied with this version of the group.
Rocket Punch – FLASH
After releasing another disastrous Japanese single, Fiore, Rocket Punch followed it up with a banger of a Korean single called FLASH that obliterated all ill will generated by the Japanese song before it. All three songs on this single are great, Especially Beep Beep.
It’s a shame that Rocket Punch doesn’t have more frequent releases in Korea. But I guess the benefit of their lack of material is that it’s almost guaranteed to be worth waiting for when they unleash something on the world.
KCON LOS ANGELES 2022
The first in-person KCON in the post-pandemic world was in Los Angeles, and it was the only planned trip I had scheduled since last year. So rather than re-hashing everything here, you can just read my recap.
There’s also a podcast about this event, it’s been a bitch to edit, but it will come out before the end of the year, I swear.