BlackPink at the Los Angeles Forum

You heard it here first, ladies & gentlemen. Your local K-Pop fan of 10 years has finally attended her first K-Pop/BlackPink concert; what a shocker.

Lucky for me, I was able to fight off ticket prices of over $600 to see BlackPink. I’m sure the name of this group sounds familiar to a few individuals, but if you aren’t certain, I’ll explain.

BlackPink is a 4 member girl group in South Korea from the notorious, YG Entertainment. They began their debut as a group in 2016 with their hit song, “Boombayah.” The members include: Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa. What makes this group so unique, besides their girl crush concept, is where these girls are from.

Jisoo comes from South Korea, but the other 3 girls came from different areas. Though Jennie was born in Korea, she was raised in New Zealand. Rosé was born in New Zealand, but was raised in Australia. Lastly, Lisa was born & raised in Bangkok, Thailand, which makes her the first non-Korean K-Pop artist from YG Entertainment.

But enough about their background, let’s get to the fun part: the concert.

First of all, buying tickets for this concert made me feel like I was on fighting grounds with resale ticket sellers as they were trying to sell tickets in the highest level of The Forum for $600 dollars a seat. Like most people, I decided to wait it out…but not without complaining, of course. By the following week, I was able to snatch the cheapest tickets of $110 per seat, to which I was grateful I memorized my debit card number by heart.

Fast forward to last week April 17th, it was time for me to get ready. Like most fans, I had owned a BlackPink t-shirt and pin to show that I was part of the fandom known as Blinks.

The Official BlackPink light-stick with people entering the venue

One thing that most people won’t tell you is that K-Pop concerts use something called a light-stick for fans to interact with their idols. Now, this particular light-stick for BlackPink had an interesting feature. Besides the fact that this light-stick looks like a toy hammer, guess what; it squeaks like one too!

Side view of the Official BlackPink light-stick

As I go up the flights of what I like to call “cardio central”, I get to my seat in the middle row of nosebleeds. Being able to have my seat near the aisle was by far the luckiest thing in the world because I didn’t have to worry about bothering people to get out of the row and I had space to dance the whole time.

Before they set the stage, there were screens showing their music videos and blasting the songs to the fans to prepare them for their idols appearance. Not going to lie, hearing a collective scream of fan girls & boys really made me feel like I wasn’t at their level.

After exiting the concert, fans discover this small gem

By the time the concert began, I was excited to see what song they would play to start the night and lucky for me, it was one of their more well-known songs called, “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”

The rush of adrenaline was one thing, but it honestly felt like I was dreaming.

I’ve practically waited for this moment for 10 years and to finally be attending the concert for a group I enjoyed so much…you have no idea how much shock I was in. The peak of my night was hearing the 4 girls talk to the fans about how excited they were to perform in Los Angeles for the first time. Even though they performed at Coachella that previous weekend, they reassured fans they would sing every song.

Each one of them performed a solo act on stage to show their talents & creativity in front of us. Jisoo covered Zedd’s “Clarity”, Jennie sang her solo release, “Solo”, and Rosé sang a variety of songs from YG Entertainment’s past artists Taeyang & Park Bom. Though, the moment we were waiting for was Lisa’s dance solos which she danced her viral dance cover of Jason Derulo’s “Swalla”.

Of course, BlackPink sang all the songs from their newly released album, Kill This Love. With songs like, “Don’t Know What to Do,” “Kick It,” “Hope Not,” and “Kill This Love,” these girls performed with such professionalism, elegance, and vibrancy. By the end of the night, BlackPink ended the In Your Area Los Angeles Tour stop with the song, “As If It’s Your Last.” I personally didn’t want this night to end as I was enjoying myself so much. Luckily, BlackPink surprised us for an encore of their songs, “DDU-DU DDU-DU” & “Stay.” Though it didn’t make it any easier to prepare myself to go back to San Diego afterwards.

After their encore, the group takes a photo to commemorate this moment in Los Angeles

So, what’s my opinion & what’s my life like now after this concert? Honestly, it’s changed my life in the extent of post-concert depression of almost a week now.

One last photo to save on my phone and in my mind forever

But in all honesty, I felt like I was welcomed and treat respectfully by everyone at the concert. I was worried that I would have encountered fans who were boisterous or ignorant, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I felt like I belonged in a sea filled with pink BlackPink light-sticks. This concert was a reminder as to why I loved K-Pop for so long.

Now that I have returned back to reality, I have plans for my next concert…but let’s just hope I can afford it first.

Written by: Sofia Gomez

Memorable Hits from the 80’s

The 80’s: an era filled with luminescent colors, crazy hairstyles, and fashion-oriented influences. This decade was especially well-known for its variety of music that people still listen to today.

As a product of two parents who were teenagers in the 80’s, I feel that this decade of music left a mark on my life. It feels as if I grew up with this decade of music, as well.

Not many of us today understand how much of an influence this decade has brought towards fashion, music, television, and political stances in the 21st century. With that being said, those who  are interested in listening to music from the 80’s feel unsure where to begin. Lucky for you, I have created a playlist to start you off with some of the most memorable songs of the 80’s to pique your interest.

To begin our list of 15 songs, let’s begin with the meme-worthy track:

1. “Take on Me” by A-Ha

This beloved track was released in 1985 off of their album, Hunting High and Low. From what I know, this track was placed in a famous vine and later grew in popularity for its trendy sound. In my opinion, this is one of those songs that you’ll want to sing a-long at a karaoke cafe.

2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

If you haven’t heard this song before, I assure you that this is one of the most uplifting songs that I’ve ever heard. George Michael’s vocals in this song impress me so much during the higher notes of this song. Though George Michael passed away in 2016, fans of his vocals can continue to dance to these famous hits written by Wham!

3. “Our Lips are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s

This song is a bit more well known to those who have heard the Hilary & Haylie Duff cover from 2004. However, hearing the original version really helps you envision the 80’s feel that this song exudes. This 1981 hit started off the series of songs that would always be remembered from the 80’s.

4. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M

By far. this song struck a political accord onto everyone who heard this 1987 track. R.E.M has lyrics that were considered to focus on a seemingly stream of consciousness with a number of diverse references throughout the song. In all honesty, this is your go to song when you are also struggling to handle all the social and political issues that occur today.

5. “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol

This new wave/post-punk artist brings his own flair onto this well-known Rock-band featured track. My mother told me how Billy Idol was the first artist she had ever seen live back when she was a teenager, and to this day she has no regrets. The type of music he created was very central to a punk/rock style that influenced fans to show up in bright colored hairstyles and mohawks.

6. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

While there is some controversy going around about Michael Jackson’s past, most of us can say that the 80’s was nothing with this hit song. This Grammy Award winning track was written in 1982, which came off of his Thriller album. If you never were given the opportunity to listen to Michael Jackson’s music, I honestly feel bad for you.

7. “The Metro” by Berlin

You cannot have an 80’s playlist without this amazing track by Berlin. Every time I hear this song, I feel like I have been zapped into another dimension as it has a synthesizer in the background of the track. I feel that this should be one of the songs that people remember the most as it is very unique and has a very vintage feel.

8. “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

I’m certain that this 1982 track played at almost everyone’s high school dances. This track is also featured in the Perks of Being a Wallflower soundtrack. If I could say one thing about this song to sway you into hearing it, it would be this: listen after 2:55 and tell me that this does not make you want to dance.

9. “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins

As a fan of both Top Gun and the television series, Archer, this song is one of those feel good tunes you want to blast in your car after a long week. This is the first song I ever heard by Kenny Loggins and it was all thanks to an animated adult-series that referenced “danger zone” so often.

10. “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds

Thanks to the film, The Breakfast Club, we all should know this very memorable 80’s song. Every time someone played this song, you can tell they are expressing a very sincere emotion for this tune. Plus, you really can’t forget about this song…

11. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

Okay, I know what you are thinking…this is not a rick roll. This is the one song that I know every single person on the planet knows about thanks to meme culture and Wreck It Ralph 2. Whether you enjoy the song or not, we would not have the meme culture of today without this man. Cheers to Mr. Astley!

12. “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’S

Based on my survey with people I talked to, most have never heard of the group the B-52’S. Though, I know this song was very popular because of Family Guy‘s reference to the song & Dance Dance Revolution featuring it. While I know this song came out in 1979, this could still pass for a famous 80’s track.

13. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett

For all my rock fans out there, Joan Jett is the very reason I was able to get into rock music. I feel that her influence on the rock genre in the 80’s is the reason we have such amazing rock music today. If you don’t believe me, please listen to her.

14. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos

As a Mexican-American student, this was one of the songs that my family would love to play. Even though this song was originally written by Ritchie Valens, their cover for this song is just as amazing if not memorable in my eyes. This was a way to bring back the memory of Ritchie Valens.

15. “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

You are lying if you say you haven’t done karaoke to this song at all! I faintly remember the day my friend and I sang this on Guitar Hero. This song will empower you and get you through the rest of your week. Honestly though, I mean it…”Woah, we’re halfway there.”

I understand that there are other songs that should be recognized on this list; however, everyone has their own unique tastes within this genre. With the emergence of rock, punk, or new wave being introduced to the mainstream during this era of music, it is safe to say that almost everyone will love something from the 80’s.

Written by: Sofia Gomez

Concert Review: Cuco at North Park Observatory

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and all we have left is our feelings. Thankfully Cuco was there to fill the void in our hearts.

The up and coming artist, Cuco, brought out those emotions live at the North Park Observatory on Wednesday February 13. With Cuco’s “Shows de San Valentín“, he was able to play at a few select cities in Southern California to bring the fans what they really want: a night to ‘simp out’.

Cuco, or Omar Banos, is a 20 year-old Chicano singer from Hawthorne, California who has created several sad boy tunes such as, “Lo Que Siento“, “We Had to End It“, & “Dontmakemefallinlove“. With songs like these, you can expect to cry or have your own personal simp hour.

With that said, I was looking forward to see what Cuco would bring during his San Diego stop.

Concert sign outside the North Park Observatory

After a long line of fans and rain pouring onto attendees, it was safe to say that this concert would bring strong emotions. Having been a longtime fan, I was excited to finally see an artist who represents my culture and my taste in music.

While this night was much more focused on Cuco, he did not shy away from playing songs like, “Summertime Hightime” and “Lucy” with KWEST which brought out a more rap-emphasized part of the night. One of the best aspects of this concert was that one of the openers, KWEST, played the piano for Cuco during his set. Everyone on the stage seemed like great friends with each other and they are partook in creating an amazing experience for concert goers.

At one point during the show, Cuco had announced that he was feeling ill & still in pain from a past car accident, but reassured his fans that he still wanted to jam out that night.

One of his more well-known songs, “Amor de Siempre,” is a song entirely in Spanish which set the tone for the night. The lyrics for this song really emphasize the feeling of falling in love with someone and having them on your mind wherever you go. During this moment, I watched as everyone in the crowd sang their heart out because of how sentimental the song made them feel, especially the couples who were celebrating an early Valentine’s Day. Honestly, having the opportunity to hear my favorite song in my native language was a dream come true.

If you’ve heard at least one song by Cuco, you should know anout his famous trumpet solos; to my excitement, he played beautifully for all his fans.

Cuco serenading his audience with his song, “Sunnyside” at North Park Observatory

With the night slowly coming to an end, Cuco played his hit “Sunnyside” to bring the love back into the venue for all lovers to enjoy. Luckily, we were able to hear one of his most unique & hilarious song called, “CR-V“, which was dedicated to his own car. Just imagine how amazing it is that an artist can create a song about their car and make it relatable enough for everyone to end the night with a big smile on their face.

Once the night ended, I couldn’t help but feel so relaxed from a night of “summer love” and “summer heartbreak” jams. The artist, Cuco, showed his fans how talented he is with his smooth vocals, especially while feeling ill. If there’s one thing I can say after seeing Cuco last week, I would say that his performance really set a high expectation for other artists that fit this type of genre.

If you’re interested in listening to Cuco’s music, I must prepare you ahead of time by saying, break out a box of tissues before you hear “Lo Que Siento,” because you’re going to either miss your ex, cry, or both.

Written by: Sofia Gomez