Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Korea Billboard Magazine November 2013 Vol.3 Review

Korea Billboard K-Pop Magazine is exactly as it sounds: it's a monthly Kpop magazine created by the Korean sector of the music company Billboard that produces reliable music charts. The one thing not obvious in the title is that this is a Japanese magazine, as the Hallyu wave is huge in Japan.  I bought the November 2013 Vol.3 issue at Seattle Chinatown's Kinokuniya Bookstore for $19.80 which is a lot for any magazine, but this issue is so special and worth it.  On the cover are the four featured artists of the month, including T-ara, Jay Park, Infinite's L, and Boyfriend.  I like that this selection is evenly spread out with a girl group, solo artist, artist from a group, and a boy group, and not dominated by just one type (usually boy groups).
Both covers are highly glossy while the pages are matte; all these little touches make this magazine really high quality and that much more precious.  The back cover has a huge advertisement for a jewelry brand while the spine reveals the four featured artists.
The issue starts with a beautiful 26 page spread on T-ara, including an interview, a photoshoot in Paris and Italy, and on-stage and off-stage photos.  The European photoshoot produced a trendy setting that matched T-ara's chic outfits. Some shots included individual photos; Eunjung looks so pretty in this photo; she has always pulled off that bob so well!
Following T-ara were several groups' multipage spread, including Boyfriend (top photo), Infinite (with L's additional section) and YB (a Korean band; bottom photo). Many of these photos are from stage performances, showing the stars in action.
As a devoted Inspirit, I'll dedicate a larger portion of this post to Infinite's spread.  There are six pages of photos from Infinite's behind-the-scenes of the Destiny music video and album photoshoot, along with an interview. These photos aren't new or exclusive to this magazine, but they're still gorgeous.

Next is six pages that focus on L and his latest photo essay book.  This photoshoot portrays L as a mature, serious and experienced photographer who knows how to work any camera.  These photos are too precious not to share, so here are all six pages.
The following four pages include photos all from L's Bravo Viewtiful Part 1; nothing new here.
The next segments focus on female idols, including a mature and edgy photoshoot of 4minute (top photo), as well as more girly and cheery photos of singers Younha and Ailee (bottom photo).
The remainder includes six page interview and photoshoot of Jay Park, a six page spread of Xia, six pages of several Korean Hip Hop duos and finishes with four pages of My Name.
Besides the gorgeous photos, what makes this magazine worth every penny is the included DVD.  The DVD is sealed in a fabric slip that's bound within the magazine's spine.  I was able to play this DVD on my region 1 laptop, so it may be for all regions (despite being a Japanese disc).  The main menu reveals three chapters, one of L, the second of Jay Park, and the third of My Name, all with automatic Japanese subtitles.

L's segment is seven minutes and twenty seconds of gorgeousness.  He speaks to the camera a lot throughout his photoshoot.  It shows L during both photoshoots (him wearing the cream blazer and the other of him wearing the striped cardigan).  This behind-the-scenes shoot shows how L really knows how to model: he jumps into new poses in between shots, never runs out of poses, looks confident in his modeling skills (without being cocky) and knows the styles that the photographer is trying to achieve.  L also uses the poses he is known for from the introduction of the Ranking King Fashion episode: touching his face and hair, as well as walking with one step forward and pausing.  There were so many cute photos throughout this photoshoot but sadly the magazine only chose the photos that portrayed L with a more mature, stern side.

Jay Park's segment is similar to L's and is over seven and a half minutes long.  He starts with an English introduction!  The remainder of his behind-the-scenes time is of just Jay posing for the camera, with no interactions or thoughts spoken.  It's interesting to see his hip hop style showing while at the photoshoot, with Jay break dancing and constantly dancing on set. There were also a few takes where Jay had a cup of water splashed in his face, which was fun to see.

My Name's segment is only around three and a half minutes.  It's a group interview with one member holding one of their signed albums, so I'm guessing it's to promote their latest album. It's cool to see My Name standing in front of a room filled with Kpop albums displayed on shelves, which is the room that many Kpop stars introduce the week's Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 Top 50!

Overall, I absolutely love this magazine!  The photos are really beautiful and cover an array of Kpop stars. Also for fans of L and Jay Park, the behind-the-scenes DVD shows perfection (I don't list My Name because their segment is so short and I don't understand what they're saying).

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