Howdy, I'm Noodle, a new Op-Ed and Features writer for allkpop. I grew up in Houston, Texas and through my interest in Starcraft 2, I've come to gain an interest in Korean music, television, and culture as a whole. My favorite solo artist is BoA and my favorite group is After School. I hope that I can neatly merge my interest in kpop with my development as a writer to deliver content that you can enjoy.
Life is full of surprises and every now and then you receive surprises within K-Pop that please you in an unexpected way. Here's a list of my five pleasant surprises within the last year of K-Pop that have left fans with a good aftertaste.
5dolls Gets Successfully Rebuilt as F-ve Dolls with "Can You Love Me"
5dolls was never very active, nor was their main group Co-ed School. After over a year without any releases and a scandal, the announcement of additional members and the re-branding as "F-ve Dolls" left the group with few lasting fans and a large mountain to climb in order to get back to the level of success that the group achieved with "Like This or That".
With their comeback single "Soulmate #1" looking and sounding like a weak "Roly-Poly" rehash and the announcement that Dani, the young and unproven member of T-ara N4, would be featured on "Can You Love Me," expectations for the song were very low.
But "Can You Love Me" turned out to be one of the most underrated songs of 2013. It carries a very pleasant harmony and allows the members to showcase their vocal talent. The new additions to the group get their chance to show that their inclusion was not for naught and allow the group to begin building an identity as the re-branded "F-ve Dolls." The use of Dani proved most surprising: CCM may not have given her a token rap solo (her notes are pitched), but the unproven 14-year-old managed to do a good job, anyway. With this single, 5Dolls showed that they should not be looked over the next time they announce a comeback.
Lim Chang Jung's "Open the Door"
The music video turned out to be super entertaining with a very fun dance and funny story line. The song itself manages to sound catchier than the original version and the overall product stands out as a success. A very nice and pleasant surprise.
Nine Muses Gets Productive
As a group of models, Nine Muses' first few years had lineup changes and few produced songs. In 2010 they put out only two songs, in 2011 they became a seven member group and released only a single song, and in early 2012 they added Kyung Li and put out their mini album Sweet Rendezvous.
But after adding SungA to the lineup in mid 2012, Nine Muses showed a surprisingly substantial increase in activities in 2013. Over the year, the group released their second mini album as well as their first full length album and two single albums. From January through December, Nine Muses constantly placed themselves in the limelight, giving content to their starved existing supporters while gaining new fans.
Tiny-G's "Miss You"
Tiny-G's initiation as a girl group full of short members standing 159cm (5'2") or shorter seemed like a weird concept at the start. Their debut hip-hop themed music video featured a cringe-inducing part where they play basketball and their second single's aegyo concept didn't really stand out.
So it came as a surprise when their single "Miss You" ditched their previous showcasing of their height and hit the ball out of the park with one of the catchiest tunes of 2013. The song has a guilt-free addictive chorus with good choreography to accompany it, solid verses, and a nice high note in the bridge. Over a year after their debut, Tiny-G managed to strike gold with "Miss You".
Crayon Pop Makes it Big in South Korea
Crayon Pop debuted as simple girl group from a new company. Without the advantages of bigger label, they focused on creating catchy and fun songs and manage to gain a fair amount of attention from foreign fans since their debut song "Bing Bing."
But struggling to get time on the major music television shows in South Korea, the group remained almost unheard of in their home country and foreign fans wondered if they'd ever be able to generate enough revenue to keep them and Chrome Entertainment from having to disband. And then Crayon Pop released their music video for "Bar Bar Bar," which paired their signature simple and catchy songs with attention-drawing outfits and choreography. The group's recognition and popularity exploded and foreign fans no longer had to worry about Crayon Pop dying out without every achieving any success or recognition in their native country of South Korea.