A match made in marketing heaven, pop songstress Ariana Grande has teamed up with Starbucks to introduce her very own drink named the Cloud Macchiato.
For the longtime Arianators, you’d probably be familiar with Ari’s obsession with all things white and fluffy. Besides her not-so-subtle penchant for cloud emojis, the ‘Sweetener’ singer even released her latest perfume recently called Clouds. If that’s not enough to convince you that this collaboration was meant to be, here’s a gentle reminder that Ariana’s last name also happens to be one of Starbucks’ beverage sizes. Coincidence? We think not.
Launched in honour of International Women’s Day, the new Ariana Grande concoction is basically caramel macchiato topped with whipped cold foam – it’s like having a cloud in a cup. It comes in two flavours, Caramel and Cinnamon, and can be ordered either hot or cold. Unlike other special items that are usually available for a limited period of time before retiring to the ‘Bux graveyard, fans of Ariana will be thrilled to know that this will be a permanent addition to the menu. The bad news? You can only get it in the US and Canada for now.
Break up with your local Starbucks, we’re hopping on the earliest flight to the states (no one asked, but we’re obviously getting a Grande.)
As the world continuously gets introduced to new batches of K-pop groups, it’s easy to forget the pioneer generation of talents that first drew global attention a decade ago. From their unique concepts to their synchronised dance steps, these second-gen favourites never fail to remind us of how they helped to shape the K-pop genre to what it is today. Though some of them have since parted ways as a group, here are some iconic bands to remember that have made their memorable debuts back in 2009.
Before we had BLACKPINK, we had the fantastic four known as 2NE1. Characterised by their bold, bright outfits, the quirky foursome were recognised for their unique style which helped set them apart from their female counterparts during their reign. In the same year of their debut, the girls even clinched a Song of the Year win at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards for their first number one single with ‘I Don’t Care’. Not bad for a then-rookie group, right?
Despite riding a high since their formation with a string of chart-topping hits and shiny awards, the quartet sadly called it quits in 2016 shortly after Minzy’s exit. Though all four members have been working hard on their solo careers since their split, it seems that now is finally the time for the least active member, Park Bom, to shine as she makes her long-awaited comeback this year. Blackjacks, where y’all at?
Hit rewind on 2NE1’s debut single, ‘Fire’:
As one of the first two groups to debut under CUBE Entertainment, 4Minute was responsible for turning their debut single ‘Hot Issue’ into an inescapable earworm that you just couldn’t get out of your head. Dubbed by their largely female fanbase as having a ‘girl crush’ image, the five-piece had an edgy dance-pop style which was evident in the choreography of their consecutive tracks following their first single. Though the quintet’s discography were filled with hits and misses, they were still able to bag several major accolades including a Rookie Award at the prestigious Golden Disc Awards in 2009.
Feeling the pressure from the competition of the cutthroat idol industry, the group unfortunately disbanded and left CUBE Entertainment, with the exception of HyunA who signed on as a solo artiste until her dating controversy which led to her parting ways with the agency and signing on with P-Nation, a new entertainment company founded by PSY.
Hit rewind on 4Minute’s debut single, ‘Hot Issue’:
If you’re the kind of fan who appreciated the underdogs of K-pop, then you might remember After School. Greatly influenced by the stylings of the Pussycat Dolls and spawned addictive hits such as ‘Diva’, ‘Because of You’ and ‘Bang!’, After School is a contemporary performance-based girl group that was initially formed with just five members. Unlike other girl groups of 2009, the band had an undetermined number of members due to their admission and graduation concept where members could get added or withdrawn. As such, the group often saw changes to their overall number of members, especially in the same year of their official debut where they lost one member and added three new ones.
But even with their inventive approach, it was difficult to maintain the group’s popularity as a whole. It’s probably part of the reason why After School has halted group promotions since 2015, in order to give the members an opportunity to explore their solo music, acting and modelling careers. They’ve also seemingly paused their admission exercise of members in late 2018, following the recent graduation of notable members Uee, Jungah and Lizzy.
Hit rewind on After School’s debut single, ‘Diva’:
In addition to the hot boy groups of the second generation like 2PM and Super Junior, we were also gifted the shockingly talented boys of BEAST. Known as the other pioneering group of CUBE Entertainment, the members were considered unique as they originally trained in different agencies. Their rise to the top didn’t take long when they got recognised for their musical versatility and dynamic choreography. These qualities were probably what contributed to the group’s success thus far, where they have collectively achieved significant recognition which identifies them as one of the most awarded groups of all time at the all-important Korean music industry award ceremonies.
While there was promise of a brighter future ahead for the sextet, fans were met with a surprise announcement when vocalist Hyunseung left in pursuit of a solo career in 2016. His sudden departure left the boys to make their comeback as a quintet, but it seemed more changes were already written in the books. In the same year, the other members officially launched their new label Around Us Entertainment, which saw them parting ways with CUBE and leaving their trademark BEAST moniker behind to rebrand as a new group named Highlight. Though they had planned to promote more as part of Highlight, the group has temporarily halted all promotions for the members to serve their mandatory military service before hopefully returning to the stage as a complete five.
Hit rewind on BEAST’s debut single, ‘Bad Girl’:
Did you know that CNBLUE started out in Japan before their transition into the K-pop world? The quartet was initially formed in 2009, where they held their very first live performance at the entrance of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan with just their instruments and pure, unadulterated vocals. Their ability to flawlessly synthesise genres together with their unique band concept, was what set them apart and granted them a coveted spot in the Korean music scene. When they made their formal Korean debut in 2010 as FTISLAND’s junior group, their insanely catchy ‘I’m a Loner’ became an instant chart-topper which gave them their first music show win barely two weeks after their debut televised performance.
Despite their continuous success, the band has gone on a hiatus to accommodate the military enlistment of each member after their 8th anniversary fan meeting early last year. Although it may seem like a long time before the band gets back together, the closeness of the members’ date of entry has led fans to believe that there’s a high possibility of CNBLUE making a comeback in 2020. So if you’re new to the band, it isn’t too late to catch up before they make their return to the stage!
Hit rewind on CNBLUE’s debut single, ‘I’m a Loner’:
Aside from being one of the earlier girl groups to have an international member and an androgynous member, as well as the younger sister of former Girls’ Generation member Jessica, f(x) was also one of the first K-pop groups to get recognised internationally following their stint at the illustrious SXSW. Known for their experimental style and electropop-based sound, the girls made their official debut in late 2009 with their first digital single ‘La Cha Ta’, before gaining a larger fanbase through their own reality programmes and collaborative works with labelmates Girls’ Generation.
In 2015, f(x) became a four-member group when member Sulli announced her official departure to focus on acting. Despite the loss, the rest continued with the release of their fourth studio album, which they actively promoted until late 2016. Since then, they haven’t been active as a whole which leaves the current status of the group undetermined as the members are off pursuing their individual careers. It’s time to give f(x) a comeback, SM!
Hit rewind on f(x)’s debut single, ‘LA chA TA’:
Dubbed unofficially as Rain’s protégés, the suave boy band was put together by the legendary performer himself as the first artistes under the now-defunct J.Tune Camp. Having trained for two years, MBLAQ’s discography has seen them experimenting with different genres while maintaining familiar Rain stylistics within their strong choreography. The group made their major debut at Rain’s Legend of Rainism concert in 2009, which helped them to garner their first legion of domestic fans. But despite being destined for greatness, they never had a number one single on the Korean charts.
Perhaps that was what led to the eventual big setback for the group after two of its members, Lee Joon and Thunder, departed from MBLAQ six years after their debut. Although there has been no official word on the current status of MBLAQ, the remaining members have been left with no proper management to oversee their activities which is probably evident enough that this once promising group will probably not be making a comeback anytime soon.
Hit rewind on MBLAQ’s debut single, ‘Oh Yeah’:
When you hear the name Secret, you might just remember their girl-next-door hit ‘Shy Boy’ which came out in 2011. Formed in 2009, the girls were originally set to be an R&B and hip-hop centric group, only to be swayed towards the retro sounds reminiscent of OG K-pop queens Wonder Girls during their debut. By picking a niche sound that was refreshing in its own way, Secret was able to quickly grow their fanbase while maintaining their unique brand within the industry.
Despite the widespread popularity they’ve gained, the momentum for Secret started to slow down when Sunhwa left the group in 2016. Although the rest of them continued as a trio, the band was officially dissolved early in 2018 after it was revealed that the remaining members were locked in a legal dispute with their management company. Even with this harrowing experience, the girls seem unlikely to let that get them down as each of them are currently working hard on establishing their solo careers in music and acting.
Hit rewind on Secret’s debut single, ‘I Want You Back’:
If you’ve dabbled in the world of K-pop in 2009, you might be well-accustomed with the all-female group that created the oh-so catchy viral banger ‘Bo Peep Bo Peep’. For the unfamiliar, T-ara was originally a six-member girl group widely known for their hook-heavy dance pop tracks, paired with unbelievably cute concepts that often change up with the tracks they were promoting.
However, T-ara’s road to fame was not without its difficulties. In 2012, the group found themselves in the centre of a bullying controversy after member Hwayoung accused the others of mistreating her. The temporary suspension of the group’s activities during this period resulted in a heavy blow for T-ara’s gained popularity thus far. Besides their 2013 comeback, the girls had spent the better part of their time actively touring and promoting before returning to Korea in 2017 to produce their final album after a conclusion to the scandal. As of 2018, the remaining members have already left the company in pursuit of better and more promising opportunities.
Hit rewind on T-ara’s debut single, ‘Lie’:
Which second-gen K-pop group do you miss the most? Let us know in the comments below!
There was nothing fancy at Kodaline’s second Singapore concert, held at [email protected] last night four years after their last gig here. There was no flashy costume changes, complicated dance choreographies, or elaborate stage theatrics.
What they had was their voices: gusty, soothing, beguiling – which made their slightly over 90 minutes set flew by in an instant. Throughout the night, we were treated to hits from their latest album Politics of Living, with crowd-favourites from their earlier records Coming Up for Air and In a Perfect World thrown into the mix. The quartet started things off with the catchy opener ‘Follow Your Fire’, before going on to deliver their equally infectious bangers such as ‘Brand New Day’, ‘Ready’ and ‘Honest’.
Quite literally, the highlight of the night was undoubtedly their performance of ‘The One’. The heartfelt, stripped-back rendition aside, the crowd was also encouraged to whip out their phone lights to create a scene as beautiful as the song itself.
But perhaps the greatest evidence of the band’s buttery vocals was in ‘I Wouldn’t Be’. It had no backing tracks or instruments – just four pure, unadulterated voices that melded together with ease. Towards the end, the four-piece had every single one in the audience singing along to tracks like ‘Love Like This’, ‘One Day’, and ‘Love Will Set You Free’.
In saving the best for last, Kodaline returned onstage during an encore to deliver ‘All I Want’ and “High Hopes’. Before bidding goodbye, lead singer Steve Garrigan hoped that the band wouldn’t have to wait another four years before coming to Singapore again. “Maybe next year,” he mused.
The time has come yet again: Singapore GP has just announced the full entertainment lineup for the 12th edition, which features big names such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and – drum roll, please – the one and only Cardi B on the headlining bill for this year’s Formula 1 night race.
Taking place at the Marina Bay Street Circuit from 20 to 22 September, festival-goers can expect a diverse host of genres across nine stages at the three-day extravaganza. Other headlining acts to watch out for include electronic supergroup Swedish House Mafia, Jamaican musical collective Toots and the Maytals as well as renowned big beat DJ Fatboy Slim.
Here’s the complete list of F1 2019 acts:
Toots and the Maytals (20 September, The Wharf Stage Zone 1; 21 September, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre Zone 4)
Swedish House Mafia (20 September, Padang Stage Zone 4)
Cardi B (21 September, Padang Stage Zone 4)
Muse (21 September, Padang Stage Zone 4)
Fatboy Silm (21 September, The Wharf Stage Zone 1; 22 September, Padang Stage Zone 4)
Hans Zimmer (22 September, The Wharf Stage Zone 1)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (22 September, Padang Stage Zone 4)
Gym and Swim
Jupiter & Okwess
Parekh & Singh
Wolfgang Flür (Ex‑Kraftwerk)
General tickets start from $98 for a single-day ticket and $268 for a three-day ticket. But here’s a great deal for local F1 attendees: a limited amount of Friday Zone 4 walkabout tickets is available for Singaporeans and Singapore residents at an exclusive promotional price of $48, which can only be purchased over-the-counter at SISTIC outlets.
The Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2019 runs from 20 to 22 September at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. For more information, head over to www.singaporegp.sg
Among the plethora of tales that make up the current K-drama scene, there are a number that stay etched in our minds long after the last episode. While we lament that we no longer have the ability to follow the lead characters past their happily-ever-after, there are times when actors and actresses reunite for an all-new production, spun from the chemistry that we oh-so-adore. Here are some of our favourite onscreen couples that have come (or will be coming) together yet again to bring us another round of feels.
Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na
Goblin (2016) → Touch Your Heart (2019)
When blockbuster drama Goblin took K-fans by storm all around the world, it wasn’t just the centuries-long story of Kim Shin and his human bride Ji Eun Tak that had us at the edge of our seats. Thankfully, Grim Reaper and Sunny will be getting their second chance at finding love (sort of?) with current TVN drama Touch Your Heart, which reunites Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In ans in starring roles. With the star-crossed romance that wrenched hearts still fresh in our minds, it’s no surprise that many have been diligently tuning into the new series to root for the lovebirds.
Fun fact: Lee Dong Wook shared that he decided to take on this drama because of his “comfort and trust in working with Yoo In Na”. It seems like working together has formed a fast friendship (or perhaps something more?) between the two, and we’re so glad to see them together again!
Kim Soo Hyun and IU
Dream High (2011) → The Producers (2015)
When talking about Kim Soo Hyun’s big break, we simply cannot forget Dream High, where the young actor first gained attention for his role as Sam Dong. It was also the drama where he crossed paths with nation’s little sister IU, who played the love interest of 2PM’s Wooyoung. Although the two weren’t paired up back then, sparks were definitely flying between them in The Producers – and viewers clearly agreed, as they were nominated for the Best Couple Award in the KBS Drama Awards.
Fun fact: Kim Soo Hyun also appeared in IU’s ‘Ending Scene’ music video, two years after The Producers.
Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra
Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002) → You Are My Destiny/Fated To Love You (2014)
They first worked together in 2002 for Successful Story of a Bright Girl, where Jang Na Ra played a simple country girl opposite Jang Hyuk’s arrogant company president. 12 yeas later, the former co-stars finally reunited for You Are My Destiny (also known as Fated To Love You) as a large company’s heir and a harried law firm secretary. Despite the years apart, they shared that they were still comfortable around each other while working on their second drama together.
Fun fact: Third time’s the charm? They teamed up once again in drama short Old Goodbye which was part of the single-episode anthology Drama Festival, and its director was one of the few who worked with them for You Are My Destiny!
Park Seo Joon and Hwang Jung Eum
Kill Me, Heal Me (2015) → She Was Pretty (2015)
Fans of twins Oh Ri-jin and Oh Ri-on would be pleased to know that Park Seo Joon and Hwang Jung Eum’s amazing chemistry together was capitalised on just a few months after Kill Me, Heal Me. She Was Pretty had strong ratings and continued to climb as viewers latched onto the couple’s charm – we’re just glad we can now “ship” the pair comfortably without them being awkwardly related in the show!
Fun fact: There’s no questioning the fact that Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon work really well together, as said by the actress herself. “If I do something, he gets it right away,” she shared. Can we get another drama of them already?
Lee Sang Yoon and Lee Bo Young
Seoyoung, My Daughter (2012) → Whisper (2017)
After the whirlwind tale of Lee Seo Young and Kang Woo Jae in Seoyoung, My Daughter (also the highest-rated drama of 2013), viewers were in for another treat when Lee Sang Yoon and Lee Bo Young reunited for 2017 SBS drama Whisper. While the former show focused on family drama and relationships, the latter showed a new side to the couple as they teamed up to uncover the largest legal scandal in South Korea – definitely a plot that fans of the two would enjoy sinking their teeth into.
Fun fact: In Whisper, Lee Bo Young’s powerful lines “‘Wait, stay still’, the children who listened to those words are still in heaven waiting for the truth to be revealed” were in remembrance of the Sewol Ferry tragedy in 2017. It seemed that her co-star shared her feelings too, as he admitted that those words rendered him speechless. He added, “My character in the drama had a lot of excuses to give, but once those lines were spoken, I had nothing to say.”
Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye
You’re Beautiful (2009) → Heartstrings (2011)
The relationship between Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye’s onscreen characters for both dramas translated into a lasting friendship off-set, but it also sparked a series of rumours about the couple. The CNBLUE lead vocalist has since refuted them, stating that she’s just a friend – even declining a role in The Heirs to “avoid” Park Shin Hye as he believed “fans would be bored” of them appearing together once again. We beg to differ, though!
Fun fact: Park Shin Hye is a frequent attendee of CNBLUE concerts as she is close friends with Jung Yong Hwa and drummer Kang Min Hyuk, who had also acted with her in Heartstrings and The Heirs.
It’s been six years in the making, but Lee Seung Gi and Suzy are at last working together for a second time in Vagabond, an upcoming series delving into South Korea’s corruption after a mysterious plane crash. The actor plays a stuntman who gets unwittingly pulled into the plot after his nephew’s death, while the former Miss A member takes on the role of a covert operative doing so to support her family – a completely different tone from the fantasy-historical drama Gu Family Book, which the pair last starred in. Vagabond airs later in May, so be sure to catch it then!
Fun fact: Lee Seung Gi recently celebrated his 32nd birthday this year with Suzy and his other celebrity friends, including the cast of SBS variety show Master of the House and Vagabond director Yoo In Sik.