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Sorry I haven't been communicating more. Kind of caught up (as a spectator mostly) in Twitter snark about Trump et al. (The Onion: "Heartbroken Russian Ambassador Thought Special Meetings With Jeff Sessions Were Very Memorable." Matt Yglesias: "It's traditional for the Speaker to hide the health care bill at the start of the seder so the children can search for it later." Yglesias again, in response to "Sen Cornyn, emerging from GOP healthcare mtg, was just asked what the plan is. 'You think I'm going to tell you what the plan is?'" "No Mr Cornyn, I expect you to di-- -- wait, it is totally reasonable to expect you to say what the plan is!")

In the meantime, here's a Chinese cover of Dschinghis Khan's "Moskau."


(Unfortunately, there are no high-quality rips of the MV — in fact, this rip seems to be the only one, though of course there are many rips of this particular rip, this being one of them; i.e., probably not the original rip itself.)

H/t John Wójtowicz for reminding me there's a Dschinghis Khan, and Twitter person @LoofaFace for the empty-chair ref I used as the title of this post. (@LoofaFace's moniker itself is taken from a memorable Daylin Leach tweet.)

Urgent update: David Frazer informs me that there's a North Korean dance to "Moskau" performed by Mullah Resmat protégés Wangjaesan Art Troupe.
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Quick opinions:

SNSD Love & Peace. Japanese, Scandinavian, consistently tuneful, not trying to overpower us with muscle and rhythm.

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Tymee "On The River." Strong, harsh, and plaintive at once, is the hurt, pummeled, and scarred Tymee. She's been doing this since her sad "Diary" days, but it was usually a sideshow to the artplay and to her being the fast sprite and melody-flinging cut-up. A lot of that's on hiatus since the name change: instead, she's been aggressive and angry; now she's knocked back in pain.

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T.O.P "Doom Dada." Beats dig into the dark desert to match T.O.P's rasp, which sounds quite amused by all the dust.

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Also: good album from Vixx, dull album from Myname, very good "Lonely Christmas" from Crayon Pop, T-ara's "Hide 'N' Seek" not as good as Miss A's "Hide & Sick," Nine Muses' "Glue" not as good as Nine Muses' "Gun," 2013 Flashe single not nearly as good as 2012 Flashe single but I'm glad they're still in business and that strong-voiced Songhee is still singing, disappointing single ("It's You") from D-Unit after a very good year, disappointing single from Super Junior ("Blue World"/"Candy"), third set of the year from SHINee (Everybody) not as good as first two.

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Might as well get these going, though I guess as a prediction this is pretty safe and obvious:

Taylor Swift joins Pistol Annies, who incorporate dance steps, harmonies, and raps using Bell Biv DeVoe/Backstreet Boys as template, w/ Big Bang and Danity Kane as modern analogues but Big-&-Rich tight country harmonies mixing with the R&B. Most parts are sung but brief raps are interjected and there's always a rap break prior to or as the middle eight. Rap styles are developed from each individual Annie's speaking style, as Taylor did on "Lose Yourself" — Teena Marie the model for keeping raps in the singer-songwriter ethos. Chapman-Shanks-Liddell-pop-rock-style production abandoned; Teddy Park and Shinsadong Tiger called in to produce and co-write.

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Jul. 19th, 2012 09:24 am
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My emotional age has risen to higher than 7!

But actually, the number up-top is the rate on Spanish Government Generic Bonds, which once more is over 7.000.

Or as Taeyang might have put it (rather pessimistically):

Oh, that Europe wasn't meant to be no, nooo
I don't wanna be without you Europe (Got me slowly dying) hey, hey
Where did we go wrong my Europe (Why can't we keep on trying)?
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While searching "Oscar song meanings," I incidentally found this thread where non-Koreans talk about how they discovered K-pop and why they love it.

"I'm just wondering...... I see many people who aren't Korean listening to Kpop.

"How did you find out and learn about kpop?
"Why do you love it?
"What is your ethnicity/nationality?
"What are your favorite groups and why? What are your favorite songs and why?"
"Do you prefer boy groups over girl groups or both?"


I don't think nationality matters at all because puppies of all countries listen to kpop. A norwegian puppy or a belizean puppy - they all love it! I'm central european, now living in Phnom Penh where local khmer kids dance to kpop in parks. Few nights ago they were swaying their hips to Abracadabra :D
Three people like that the groups don't have to sing about sex, money, and drugs.

Favorite meta, best food reference, most emblematic authenticity argument )
Anyone reading this can answer in the comments, if you'd like, even if you are Korean. How does one define "Non-Korean" anyway? I'd say that I'm non-Ukrainian, non-Belarussian, non-Russian, non-Polish, non-Austrian, nonshtetl, non-European, non-Yiddish, etc., though I could claim all those ethnicities (or whatever) under certain circumstances. By the way, the first-released (though unauthorized) version of "Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)" was not by SNSD but by an Uzbek. Not that Uzbekistan is anywhere near the Ukraine. But it's closer to the Ukraine than to Korea.

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Trevor's got an in-depth analysis of the "Gee" video and the male gaze or absence thereof. If I'm interpreting his basic point right, it's that the video is about girls having fun with girls, not about how they appear to some guy — or maybe more emphatically, it's about the girls having fun with girls while abandoning the gaze of some guy. As far as it goes, this analysis seems right, and matches what I think about Miss A's live routine for "Breathe," which is that it's not about some guy making them breathless; rather, the supposed breathlessness is a pretext for the young women* to clown around with each other.

Except I don't think that puts the issue to rest, not by a long shot. What I find limited in Trevor's analysis is that he's talking about the story in the video but he's not talking about the story of the video in the world. For instance, I'm looking at the video. So's Trevor. So are you. I don't see that the video has subtracted our eyes.

An incomplete list of gazes, gazers, etc. that might be relevant:

--The characters in the video
--The performers in the video
--Who the videomakers envision might be looking at the video
--The videomakers themselves (incl. performers, costumers, editors, financiers, etc.)
--The assumptions the videomakers make about the audiences for the video, about the audiences' expectations regarding music etc., audiences' role in fandom and their vision of the world, and about how the audiences are likely to use the video, etc.**
--The experiences and assumptions of the videomakers themselves about video, music, life; their vision of potential worlds etc.
--The actual audiences for the video and how they see such videos; their visions of the world and of potential worlds; how they use the video in their lives
--The people writing about the video; the writers' assumptions and visions etc. and their assumptions about their readers' assumptions and visions etc.
--The social classes/categories of the aforementioned (which obv. include age and gender but include a lot of other stuff too)
--How all these gazes, gazers, uses, etc. may change over time, the use of the video not being fixed

More gazing, plus footnotes )
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Inspired by Christophe calling Big Bang's "Blue" the greatest boyband song since Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," I compiled a list of fifteen boyband tracks. Not a best-of, not a survey, but some stuff I think highly of, and enough gaps to call forth lists of your own:

The Jewels "Hearts Of Stone"
Dion And The Belmonts "I Wonder Why"
The Marcels "Blue Moon"
The Miracles "You Really Got A Hold On Me"
The Beatles "She Loves You"
The Temptations "(I Know) I'm Losing You"
The Monkees "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"
The Jackson 5 "I Want You Back"
The Moments "Love On A Two-Way Street"
New Kids On The Block "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
Bell Biv DeVoe "Poison"
*NSync "I Want You Back"
Backstreet Boys "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
Big Bang "Tonight"
MBLAQ "I Don't Know"

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I was extrapolating forward and back from early '90s usage; so, the male r&b vocal group taken to by kids and teens, with dancing. Orioles and Drifters not eligible, Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers are. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" eligible, "I Am The Walrus" not. "ABC" eligible, "Shake Your Body" not (among other things, vocals too much a Michael-only showcase). I count the Coasters, but I'd have chosen the Robins/Coasters' "Riot In Cell Block Number 9," which is a bit early and the content is probably insufficiently pre-teen (though I myself would've loved it as a tyke). I count the early Wailers, but my choice, "Jailhouse," is too late, and it reaches older than teen. I disqualified duos even though in my heart I'm sure the Everly Brothers belong for "Cathy's Clown" and "All I Have To Do Is Dream," and maybe even Simon & Garfunkel for the electric version of "Sounds Of Silence."

Ignorance, missing sweet )

So have at it.

Temptation )

(Crossposting at [livejournal.com profile] poptimists, to see if it's still a ghost town.)
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Hyori trades banter with Big Bang on her variety show:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/AyZhMV6nJsY

Part 2: http://youtu.be/FH2lz4MoAjQ

She, co-host Jung Jae-hyung, and the boys are all quite personable, though even with subtitles I'm not understanding whole gobs of the interchange, due some to my not knowing the history, some to my not knowing the culture. But I do get that a hunk of what they're doing at the end is How To Pick Up Girls. And yeah, they're doing it for fun, and it's funny; but still, it's reminding me that these people are fundamentally mainstream and I'm not. (Or if one or more isn't/aren't fundamentally mainstream he/they are going along with it.*) I'm not averse to getting to know attractive women who happen to be passing by, including attractive mainstream women, and letting them know I'm potentially interested; but still, even though I can't totally put my finger on why, the how-to-pick-up-girls mentality epitomizes exactly what's mainstream about this clip and what's not mainstream about me. Maybe it's the assumption that this is our common ground. Or the assumption that we assume a common ground rather than discovering and creating it.

Of course, when various counterculture groups fundamentally go dead for me, and they all pretty much do, sooner or later — freak, punk, postpunk, indie-alternative, "poptimists," [your group name here] — it's exactly because they've gotten into a rut of assuming assumptions, e.g., assuming I'm like them more than I'm like Hyori. (See "The Death Of The Cool.") I don't assume that Hyori and I, for instance, or G-Dragon and I, etc., don't know how to find common ground. One common ground would be if they like to think about such things, about assumptions and how to test them. In 2006 Samsung was willing to postulate that Hyori seeks to see through a multiplicity of eyes.

How did he get )

h/t Mat
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In ChoColat's "I Like It," 14-year-old Melanie lets loose with a wail of "I want it all, all or nothing," that pierces steel, leaps rooftops, and calls across oceans. Back in their introduction vid last July she was at ease and charming in a normal-girl bubbly way. Seems like a winning combination: camera-ready everyday warmth and a voice that can launch rivers and wring us dry.

ChoColat aren't getting far commercially yet, unfortunately: "Same Thing To Her,"* entered the Gaon chart last week at 83 and immediately took a step back to 132; the previous two singles didn't do much better. Fingers crossed. Strong beats, passionate singing, hot melodies. Yet another set of songs that remind me of freestyle. I know I've been making that comparison so much recently that it's likely losing its impact and meaning. I'll need to give this a post of its own sometime soon, freestyle to K-pop, or at least provide links to try and demonstrate the connection. (For what it's worth, all but one of ChoColat's songs are composed by either Norwegians or Brits, though with some Korean and Korean American input but none from the American East Coast, which is where freestyle originated. By the way, there's a sad story about one of the Korean American songwriters which I'll mention in the comments.)

Race )

*Also called "One More Day."
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How to get Maura Johnston interested in K-pop )

Britney )

IU, "The Story Only I Didn't Know." I don't have a good explanation for why a particular ballad hits me, since most go in one ear and out the other, leaving only torpor to mark their passage. Here, IU creates a space of intense agony, the music standing stark still. Her small voice sounds almost matter-of-fact. Like adding up deadly accounts. (So, torpor bad but stillness good?) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQ0d3LAtZ0 [click CC if you're not seeing English captions])

Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic, "Ready 4 Romance." Take any room, from shack to bar to ballroom, dim the lights, add breaths and echo effects, and voila! A dark, erotic, cavernous space. The cavemen figured this out early, using shadows and torches.

HyunA, the Bubble Pop! EP: on reality TV HyunA plays herself as a goofball and brat (search YouTube for "HyunA screams at chicken"), yet this does nothing to undo her sexual aura. On live performances of "Just Follow" she moves slow, her face expressionless, the expressionlessness expressing force and haughtiness, and an inner stillness — the stillness totally sexualized. I wonder what she thinks of it. Does the force field of sexiness that emanates from her have anything to do with her, or is it just a thing that she ("she") can use? Is it just her gorgeous, slightly blank face and her way of barely moving, restraint in her gestures, onto which we project the force field? She and Zico had performed "Just Follow" seven consecutive times [EDIT: over ten days, that is]; at the end of the eighth they deliberately break character and smile, "See, we're normal warm people after all"; and HyunA winks. But this is a controlled warmth, "See, I've been here all along," her revealing herself in her own time, doling out the warmth but only when she wants to. So besides warmth what's revealed is mastery, the ability to control the revelation, the smile demonstrating more control since it says "I can turn my roles on and off." The fear and hysteria she puts on when she wants to go girlie-girlie is a role too — even if the various roles all happen to be the truth. [EDIT: This P&J para, written Dec. 22, 2011 or thereabouts, was my first attempt to get at the awe-and-aura-not-requiring-distance point I next made a week later on my lj and a few days after that on Tumblr.]

Singles ballot )

Albums ballot )

Why I don't capitalize the m in 4minute )
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While searching YouTube fruitlessly for some 2NE1/Big Bang couples action, I came across this live sitting-on-the-floor knockoff of the inferior reggae version of "I Don't Care," with G-Dragon writing, on the spot, a brilliantly half-assed, hilariously ineffective self-justification of the male attitude.

Unfortunately the dude who uploaded that vid compressed its width. Here's the same segment, with the correct ratio but without the Eng Sub:

Read a lyrics translation of "Tonight" that made fear and misogyny seem casually rampant in it, in an interestingly conflicted way — the lyrics don't want to commit to the romance that suffuses the sound, with pain equally suffusing the sound — and I've been afraid to look further, at alternate translations, to confirm my theory that when T.O.P. romantically says "Good night" at the end he's really kicking her out of bed.
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Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic, "Ready 4 Romance"

Pretty much missed three out of the four months, but was still able to get a solid 20, thanks to ringers from late last year, Korean b-sides, Korean instrumentals, a Far East Movement bonus track that's currently number 5 on the Gaon Overseas Chart, and a joke that my mom (b. 1923) says is far older than she is, much less the Bellamy Brothers. So predates World War I, at least. Might even predate the French And Indian War.

In regards to said joke, while even my Britney-loving friends consider "Hold It Against Me" the bottom poop of Britney's year, I'm completely taken by it, as it rumbles and rocks, glides and pummels, soars and attacks; maybe it's a bit too comfortable in its trashiness, compared to the unsettlingly squirmy trashiness of Blackout, but basically I think this and "3" are genius and if only she 'n' Max 'n' crew had put together an album's worth of such gorgeous sexslime, Femme Fatale'd be in my decade's top ten for sure. Will likely make my year's ten, anyway, though as you'll see below, not a lot of albums have been knocking the door of the koganbot pleasure center.

1. Britney Spears "Hold It Against Me"
2. Jeremih "Down On Me"
3. GD&TOP "High High"
4. Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic "Ready 4 Romance"
5. IU "The Story Only I Didn't Know"
6. GD&TOP "Knock Out"
7. Far East Movement ft. Lil Jon & Colette Carr "Go Ape"
8. Big Bang "Tonight"
9. Rihanna "S&M"
10. Reba McEntire "If I Were A Boy"
11 through 20 )

Albums )

Wild rose

LPG are listed as "trot," which is a Korean descendant of foxtrot, so I expect it's what everybody danced to prior to the young people's wave of hip-hop and r&b; in feel it makes me think of Italodisco, actually. LPG seem to be young people themselves, their name originally standing for "Long Pretty Girls" owing to the singers all winning beauty contests. Possibly an unpromising premise for a girl group, but art can come from anywhere, even the heights. Now, foreshortened by a few defections and replacements, LPG are merely "Lovely Pretty Girls" and perhaps need a successful album so as not to end up lonely pretty girls. They did a recent terribly blah cover of "We No Speak Americano," their voices being the total wrong style for a poke-you-in-the-ribs novelty. There's something clear and matter of fact about their singing, reminding me of Boney M.*

Kogan links )

IU, Far East Movement, Big Bang, Camo and Krooked, Girl2School, Kara, Rainbow, Crookers, Jamey Johnson, T-ara )

Albums Longlist 2010 )

Country Singles Longlist 2010 )

Martin Ramey vid )
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Prodded by Maddie's preferring Seungri's "What Can I Do?" to Enrique Iglesias's "Tonight I'm Fuckin' You" (wish I could agree with Maddie, but I think "Tonight" kills "What Can I Do?"), and also recalling that I have not yet gotten close to writing and posting all my year-end lists/appraisals, I want to officially dub 2010 as The Year In Which, Among Other Things, I Had Trouble Coming To A Consistent Opinion Regarding Enrique Iglesias (the "among other things" is there so that I can officially call 2010 the year of a whole lot of other things as well, e.g., I officially dub 2010 as The Year In Which Pitbull Was Massive, Though I'm Not Sure Massively What, But Jonathan Bogart Was The Only Person In My Critical Neighborhood To Write More Than A Sentence Or Two About Him). So anyway, let's recall 2010 (w/ links for anyone who wants to see the full text).

Come on baby, do the vacillation )

That vid makes me wish I were watching Michelangelo Antonioni's brilliant L'Avventura, instead.


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