By Paris365 on December 21, 2012

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Windmill Media

Hello Venus blasted into K-pop orbit earlier this year with their amazing debut mini-album Venus. Now they're back with their second mini-album, 오늘 뭐해? (translation: What Are You Doing Today?).

Opening with the title track, 오늘 뭐해? casts a formidable spell from the start, the girls' sugary sweet and intoxicating vocals -- which consist of a bit more hip-hop than usual -- blending perfectly with some potent beats that call to mind Circus-era Britney Spears. "Call, call, call," they sing and you'll be ready to pick up the phone. It's actually a fairly simple song, but it's oh-so-contagious and sure to dominate the charts. Next up is "Romantic Love," a pretty mid-tempo ballad that starts off simply with the girls singing along to a clapper and gently stroked acoustic guitars. All of the verses essentially consist of half-whispered earnestness, but the song really comes to life during its energetic if not exhilarating chorus. It's followed by another ballad, "First Love," though this one is a slow and sultry, down-tempo R&B tune. "I want to be your lover, my first love," the girls sing during the lush chorus and it's warm enough to melt chocolate. There are hints of R&B in " 똑같아 " (Google: "Identical"), too, which begins with a mesmerizing little piano line and some punchy, thumping beats. This track is no ballad, however -- it's more of a mid-tempo pop ditty. A slick, easily digestible slice of pop pie, really. "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh," they sing repeatedly during various parts of the song, though it's mostly used as a bridge. They sing it gently and it's inclined to make your skin tingle like a pleasant breeze. But the real hook is clearly the killer chorus.

The final song, "Winter Fantasy," is said to be a holiday song -- the girls' "Christmas carol to their fans" -- and it does start off with lots of festive Christmas-style bells. That said, it's actually the most modern pop song on hand with its uber-slick production, which consists of lots of shimmering synth, thick and addictive beats, and twinkling little electro-elements. The girls' powerful, vibrant vocals certainly don't hurt either. If you add one Asian song to your holiday playlists this year, it should definitely be this. -Michael McCarthy

BONUS REVIEW: Michael's previously unpublished review of Hello Venus' debut:


Hello Venus are a six member Korean girl group created by Pledis Entertainment of After School and Son Dam Bi fame. Its members are Yoo Ara, Yoon Jo, Lime, Alice, Yoo Young, and Nara.

The intro track, "Hello," starts off with what sounds like a single heart-beat before launching into a glittery, attention-grabbing pop rock assault. "Hello, now listen up," the girls demand, commanding your full attention. But are they worthy of it? In a word, yes. "Hello" might only be an intro track but it's also actually one of the best K-Pop tracks of the year so far. The first proper song, "Venus," is essentially a theme song for the girls and it quickly makes it obvious that the girls are all about perfectly produced pop songs with large vocal harmonies and an occasional verse of rap. Track three, "설레임" (Google translation: Excitement), is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad with atmospheric strings, subtle piano and a bit of an R&B vibe. The mini album ends with "Love Appeal," on which the girls declare, "hey boy, I'm not that kind of girl." It has a hard beat and funky synthesized bass and promises to stay stuck in your head for days. You'll be sure to sing along to the refrain: "Na na, na na na na, na na na na na." Only you'll be thinking, "Yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah!" -Michael McCarthy

Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

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