Nell “Ocean of Light”


I wound up reading in one of our TL;DR questions what we think about Kpop idol culture, specifically to do with what Lee Hyori said. Supposedly, she didn’t want to promote her song for more than two weeks, because the stages of shows are mostly for idols and fan culture, rather than for music, or something like that. The point of me raising this question is because we’re not sure what to really do when it comes to Nell. They’re not Kpop, but they’re really big. It was the same for Busker Busker. Unfortunately, “Kpop” has become synonymous with idols and fans, so much so that people barely even consider Psy a part of Kpop, though he’s the biggest thing to ever happen to Korean music, which is some thing that Kpop fans have a hard time accepting. Where is there room in Kpop for people that don’t follow the idol path? It’s not necessarily Indie. We just don’t have a better term for it.

It doesn’t really matter too much, really, because they’ll still be great with or without the label. Nell’s still very popular, moreso than lots of Kpop bands out there, and they keep on making great songs. We don’t like this as much as last year’s “The Day Before,” but it’s still a good song. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Smells featuring Neon Bunny “Listen to Your Heart”


OMG Y U SO NEON BUNNY BIAS? Yes, we totally broke the rules for this song. There’s no video. I’m sorry, other Korean Indie Bands whose songs we didn’t talk about because you didn’t have a video! We’re trying to pressure you into making more videos, so people can see them, and we really cheated on our rule. That’s only because we have a crush on Neon Bunny. It was one of the best things we heard all of last year, and so now we’re anxious for anything else Neon Bunny related. This isn’t a full video. It’s not even Neon Bunny’s best song. But it’s still good! We’re not too familiar with Smells, though, but they do seem familiar. I just Googled to see if we spoke about Smells before, and typed in “eatyourkimchi smells” as the search term. I quickly closed the window. I didn’t want to see what I didn’t want to see…

Coreyah “Whale of a Time”


Is it unfair of us to compare this song to the Decemberists? Not everything ship and whale related must be theirs? It’s also not really fair that this song kinda sounds Decemberists-y. Just without the middle English. Though Decemberists aren’t really Middle English. More…Pre-Victorian? Is that right? I don’t know. I haven’t taken an English lit course in a long time.

But it seems that we’re not being unfair, because even Leigh saw the video and suggested the Decemberists on her own. See! It’s not just us!

Or, if you don’t listen to the Decemberists much, I’m sure you probably have no clue what we’re talking about…so don’t worry! Just check out the song and hopefully you’ll like it.

Anyhow, we’re gonna get back to enjoying our anniversary! We’ve been married for six years as of today! Ok, back to husband and wifely things. See you tomorrow!

  1. Smells is pretty good, i love that kind of music. Thanks for introducing me~ I always see the indie playlist, not all the korean music is kpop and you prove that. Thanks c: And martina, i hope you get well soon~

  2. GuYss im giving you my no makeup face snd im tired from work and sleepy
    But i recenly became a hugee fan of shin yoon chul and one of my favorite songs are 누구나 and 내 맘은 끝없는 우주를 향해
    Has a very mellow vibe and really loungy feel to it with great guitar playing. IT JUST SPEAKS TO ME, okay!? Lol
    Anyways i couldnt find any cool music videos so check out this live performance!

    P.s my name is Denisse btw! Take care!


  3. Hi! I’m watching your Indie playlist for a while, and I couldn”t find anything from Guckkasten (maybe it is somewhere but I haven’t watch your all videos.. yet :) ).

    So I give the link, it’s my favourit song from them, it’s kind of Muse-inspired song I think. The vocal is awsome, and the video is just like the title… montage. Enjoy it!


    Anyway I love your absurd humour and your videos! Cheers from Hungary ;)!!!

  4. Hi! I’m watching your indie playlist for a while, and I’m really happy about it, because I could not find these kind of cool korean band alone before . But I haven’t find anything from Guckkasten…(Maybe there was, but I didn’t watch through all of your videos… not yet :D ). So I’m giving a link, it’s my favourit song from them, it’s a kind of Muse inspired song I think, video just follows the title..montage. Enjoy it!
    Anyway I love you guys! :) Reka from Hungary! (it’s a quiz question: do you know where is it? :) )

  5. I always look forward to your Indie lists<3 I love K-pop but its cool to listen to other great music too! You guise work so hard for us, Thankyou! Stay Nasteh!

  6. Loved the Ocean of Light song! Such a fun beat and I really liked the whole garage band feel to it as well. Have to add this to my playlist now.
    As for the other two though, meh…Just wasn’t feeling very into either one of them. They are not bad songs, but just not my thing. Only one of these songs gets the tiger paw stamp of approval this week.

  7. Neon Bunny … just take my money …

  8. Okay, so I’m a bit behind on this playlist… actually I’m a bit behind on all your recent posts lately. I blame work and the sudden purchase of an x-box. OMG it’s consuming my life…

    Anyway, great selection of songs you guys! I totally agree with the whole K-Pop genre being synonymous with idol groups. Pop music can be pop music without being an idol group, and more importantly, pop music is very different than indie music.

    I hate that when people think of K-pop they instantly think of idol groups. Idol groups, in my personal opinion, is in no way a true representation of the extremely epic music culture that is coming out of South Korea. As an American who has yet to go to South Korea, I could be totally wrong, but when I listen to Neon Bunny, Busker Busker, Nell, Cassette Schwarzenegger, Lucite Tokki, Urban Zakapa- I can’t help but think THOSE are the bands (and many more, of course) that are truly a testament to the pure awesomeness of Korean music. And yet all of those seem to get lumped into the Indie music category. Some are, of course, totally indie, but it seems to me others are kind of stuck in some weird genre that everyone listens to but since its not an idol group, it’s not pop.

    Anyway, that’s my mini rant. As for the songs you guys picked, I instantly tortured the replay button for Nell’s “Ocean of Light.”

    Nell has to be the one band I consistently seek out on itunes and pay for. The singer’s voice is just so… heavenly. As soon as I heard “Ocean,” I opened up itunes and bought the EP.

    Gotta love Neon Bunny too- don’t really know anything about Smells though.

    As for Coreyah, “Whale of a Time” was definitely an cool intro to something different. I don’t know if it really suits my musical tastes, but I can totally appreciate the uniqueness of it all.

    Anyway… time to catch up on your other videos before the x-box pulls me back in.

  9. Happy 6th Anniversary guys~! :D

    I absolutely love all the songs in this week’s playlist! :D They’re all so awesome!

    p/s: guise, you should link Coreaya’s vid to their official youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oLDcuV4wV0

  10. Happy Anniversary!

    I have to say, I *loved* “Ocean of Light”, absolutely loved it <33333333 I liked the other two of OoL is just the standout track of the week/month/year/ever for me.

  11. Nell are freakin amazing!!!!
    and i’m totally loving this song!!!

  12. The playlist doesn’t want me to know what you think about Nell’s song and it skips the first video (but I watched it on YT so no problem).
    I totally agree that “Ocean of Light” is a song that should be played in a stadium full of people, all of them singing that OOOWAYYYOOOOH part. I can easily imagine that. I like this song, but it’s definitely not my favorite by Nell. As for the video: I don’t know how did they film the rain scenes, but I can see that they lack in continuity. Just look at their hair and clothes. They’re perfectly dry, then all of the sudden they’re wet, then dry again, wet, dry and so on ;)
    “Listen To Your Heart” – not my cup of tea, but the picture is perfect for the season – when I think June, I think strawberries :D
    “Whale of a Time” is not something I would normally listen to, but it’s the kind of music I enjoy at these events where there are people dressed like in middle ages, knights and folk bands singing songs about nature, nymphs dancing around the lake at dawn and other mystic things, you know. And again, it’s relevant to the season, because June 23/24th is the shortest night of the year and in Poland and other Slavic countries we have this very old (and, sadly, forgotten by most) tradition of so called Kupala Night, the night of love and fertility with rituals such as making wreaths of flowers and floating them on rivers (girls) or jumping over fire. (ok, I’m about to rant but I’ll just stop here)

  13. Man the new Nell song is sooooo awesome, I’m listening to it obsessively right now, hehe.

  14. Nell’s Slip Away album still remains one of my favorite albums but I really love Ocean of Light. I love the upbeat, energy building frame work of the song. Uplifting and get you energized song. Possibly to snap you ouf the the depression you got watching The Day Before MV. The Day Before is such a wonderfully orchestrated melodic song, it’s kinda of unfair to compare Ocean of Light to it. This is more comparable to their song Cliff Parade. I just know I really, really like Ocean of Light.

    Coreyah’s MV I’ve really missed seeing artist videos like that, got my graphic designy artsy fartsy side all school girl giddy. And I do not think it is unfair to compare them to the Decemberist at all, especially from a visual stand point. They cornered the market on nautical themes in the music world and sealed the deal with Mariner’s Revenge.

    Oh, I forgot, I agree it is hard to categorize Nell and Busker Busker into the correct genre. By all standards they should be kpop, they are Korean and popular. I guess they could be call kpoprock? But that doesn’t help categorize other artists about their who are not idols like Huh Gak, Psy and Cho Yong Pil and art rock musicians. I see many times the songs that are the most popular are not the songs winning on the various music shows and I feel a bit disheartened for those artists. I say only a bit because when all is said and done their songs are still highly popular week to week while others just sort fade away. I only watch music shows now for performance and know that the winner is 95% based on popularity of younger viewers who have the time to vote and search the internet for their favorite idols. I believe fans of Nell, Busker Busker ect are generally 20+ and don’t have time to play the internet popularity game, nor care to. They just like good music and show it by buying the music, sharing it with others who buy it also and so on and so on. You know the music really grows in popularity. Okay sorry for rambling on for so long.

  15. In case someone else hasn’t already posted it but it seems like this is actually the official MV for Whale of A Time (same video, just the official channel) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oLDcuV4wV0

  16. I really like this Nell song! It’s maybe the third one I’ve listened to, and its really great. I don’t know if it made me a fan, but i’ll sure try to look up more of him.
    Eh~ second ‘video’…the song really didn’t do it for me.
    Third video, was nice and the video was great and I can appreciate the artistry of it, but it still isn’t really my thing. Maybe I’m just being picky this week? eh, who knows *shrugs shoulders. Well, have a nice anniversary. I actually will be losing my internet tomorrow (thought i would have yesterday, but it was the weekend so…yea) T^T won’t be able to watch for who knows how long! WAT WILL I DO WITHOUT EYK???? :P Have a nice day!

  17. Hi!! Happy Anniversary!!
    Thanks for reviewing Nell. Actually I’ve been listening them since you upload their song in the Kpop chart.

  18. “Oceans of Light” and “Listen to Your Heart” immediately went into my play list. I had previously grabbed “Whale of a Time” when perusing the high numbered part of the kpop chart some time ago. I think that Coreyah sounds more like East Coast Canada Acadian music more than anything else. Some of the more traditional stuff done by Great Big Sea is very similar. I did get a real old school Sesame Street feel from the video though, like one of those short animations of this silhouette type that they would occasionally do. All enjoyable.

  19. I freaking luuuved Ocean Of Light from the first listen! It’s such a happy-making song!

    But I do mind the repetitiveness of Listen To Your Heart, just like I do mind the Smoky Girl Smoky Girl Smoky Girl Girl Smoky Girl Smoky Girl Smoky Girl, and the overuse of “Yeah” and “Baby” in Kpop songs (and pop songs in general). For me the ideal English meter would include a coefficient for the vocabulary diversity!

    And Whale Of A Time is… unexpected. In a cool way. Overall, nice playlist guise! And happy 6 years!

  20. Awesome list! Loved all the songs on this list! I was hoping you’d talk about Nell at some point. Wish granted! =D

    Thank you and Happy Anniversary!

  21. Guys, please review 안다미’s Waiting next week!! it’s really good.

  22. OMGITSKOREANMUSICINDIETIME!! (slow down Ry guy…. just breeeeathe)

    ok heres what I think…

    Nell – Ocean of Light
    Initially the start of the song was really promising for me focusing on Kim Jong-wan’s great voice (the best part of the band in my opinion) but then as the pre-chorus came in I started to feel like it was (as EYK mentions) more anthemy which I feel doesnt really suit the band well. then after the chorus came through and the synths I just didnt really feel the song. Last year’s songs by Nell were some of my favorites I had heard in the Korean music world and I feel with Ocean of Light is a step backwards (oh god Nell fans please dont kill me haha). Dont get me wrong, the song is good… just not up to standards of what I think Nell is capable of and suit well… I could be wrong though… maybe it will grow on me

    Smells – Listen to Your Heart
    What??? No M/V?? how dare you! (nah, I forgive you, its your anniversary). Great beats, great low synths, Neon Bunny is a bias of mine too so I gotta love her vocals (even though honestly I’m not 100% sold her tone suited the song the best). The whole feel of the song totally had a Justice vibe to it and who doesnt like Justice.. am I right?…. oh, except their album they just released of all recycled songs and pretty much no new content… SERIOUSLY JUSTICE???! you dissapointed me…

    Coreyah – Whale of a Time
    Its really a breath of fresh air to see more of this style of music in the current K-Indie scene. At first I was going to say “its great to see there is Korean folk music” until my Korean friend was all “uh dude, Korean folk was so 1990″, and thats when I threw them out my window. Dont worry… the ground broke their fall. Anyways as for this song I think its pretty good… not exactly the type of folk music I like to listen to (not the biggest fan of Decemberists myself… but I definitely am of Fleet Foxes, but I dont think this band sounds like them really). As for the video, it reminded me for sure of a lot of folk style music videos, which are usually very whimsical and look like an old book come to life. Great request Ashley! I also love your purple hair!! Maybe one day I can be super cool and get purple hair… guys can do that right?

    anyhooooooooo…. gotta sleeeeeep and wake up early tomorrow to FIND MORE INDIE MUSIC!!!!!!!…. well, after work anyways…


  23. I think Nell is K-Rock, or am I the only who coined that term for them? O____O

    • I think music made by FT Island, CNBlue, TRAX etc are also classified as K-Rock. At least that’s what the music file says when I coughcoughdownloaditcoughcough I mean buy it.

      • IKR! An FNC stan here! ^^ Well, TRAX used to be good before but they’re from SM sooo they’re meant to be idols, I guess.

        • I just wish that Jay would come out of the army sooner, and that TRAX would start making new music again. Their last album Blind is one of the few albums in which I like, and I mean really like, every single song. //ughuhuhuhuhuhu

        • B-but I thought their Japanese singles were better! Their Korean songs sound kpop-ish for me.

        • That’s probably the way the SM was going with them, if they were going to make more money out of TRAX. But still, I thought Blind was pretty good. I must admit though, I’m not surprised they were also aimed at the Japanese market. Their early videos were um, “quite different” to what their latest incarnations are.

  24. This has to be one of my favourite korean indie playlists!!!! Totally fell in love with all the songs and especially since im a huge fan of Nell!!! And the Whale of time song flute instrument reminds me of that polish fairy tale where there was like a mouse infestation and this little boy played the flute and the mice all followed him out of the town…Or is it no just a polish thing… But i really also love the beat of Smells- Listen to your heart its really catchy^^

  25. and here i am, just… YAY! NELL!! If there’s any group worth fangirl over, for me it’s Nell hahahahah

    i do share the same inclination with you guys where i love their previous releases more than Ocean of Light. It’s still awesome, though. Still in the range 9 out of 10. Then again, there’s no Nell song that i can give low mark. ever

  26. You know, for being called “Smells”, that song has an awful lot of “listen”ing going on in it. ;)

    I really want to write something thoughtful related to the “Kpop, idols, and fans” issue that you raised, but all I can think of right now is “Yaaaaaaay, Nell!”

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