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Generic songlist intro: Had mostly completed this a month ago, felt I ought to say something about some of these, hence the delay in posting. Here's the YouTube playlist:

1. Lil Debbie "F That"
2. NCT 127 "Limitless"
3. MC G15 "Deu Onda"
4. CLC "Hobgoblin"
5. Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia "Bounce TV"

6. Pristin "Wee Woo"
7. Steps "Scared Of The Dark"
8. Jovi "Ou Même"
9. Vince Staples "BagBak"
10. Cherry Coke "Like I Do"

11. K.A.R.D "Rumor"
12. Alternative TV "Negative Primitive"
13. K.A.R.D "Don't Recall"

Lil Debbie. By strapping herself tight to rhyme and meter schemes she becomes taut and virulent.* NCT 127. If this had been Super Junior doing the "baby it's you" part, the hair-on-the-neck harmonies would've been shivery and cold. NCT sound warm doing pretty much the same, and good for them. MC G15. The genre is "funk ousadia," Google translating it from the Portuguese as "daring funk" or "bold funk," which in this case is a slow goofy dance on a high wire.** The melodica brings me back to Ennio Morricone and Augustus Pablo, also shivery. CLC. HyunA moves with a nice ungainly beauty into which she's instilled presence and charisma while still being accessibly goofy. She's written and produced a HyunA soundalike track for CLC, who have none of her charisma and little of her talent, and they sound almost as good anyway and almost as compelling, also goofy.*** Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia. 60 seconds is an effective length for Big Freedia's insistent repetitiveness, about the length of a long TV commercial, which this literally is. K.A.R.D. Immediately gripping but the grip is too tight, or anyway the beats are a tad sludgy and, surprisingly, it's the female singers rather than the males who lie too heavily atop the rhythm. Lots of promise, though, in the songs and the singing.

*Virulence can be a massive irritant of course when linked to Debbie's childish toughness, and fuck that, but it's up to better people to make better music, and at the moment they don't.

**"Sexual connotations and puns in the form of humor," Wikip helpfully opines, also with the assistance of Google Translate.

***Hence the question I asked 30 days ago: "'What if the Rolling Stones had written and produced hits for the Shadows Of Knight?' (Well, what if HyunA wrote and produced CLC?)"

Way To Go

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:10 pm
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New Crayon Pop.

Advance single "Vroom Vroom"

About perfect: Light splashy Italodisco, a boat ride past small islands. Writer and (I think) lead singer Way adds enough ache to give this a promise of passion, a hint of adventure.

Album teaser, Evolution Vol. 1

First 8 tracks, I guess; 17 are due, 10 all new. Track 2 has interesting promise, as if it's early-mid Sixties girl group morphing into soul, or early Eighties Britain burnishing up that sound so that it glistens. Or something different; it's only several seconds. Track 6 is on a different Sixties borderline, like the Animals grabbing at teen tragedy and creating a venomous adult wail — not that I expect Crayon Pop to get close to venom, or to full slaughterhouse wailing. Probably will just be nice woman dancing into the distance, leaving small pangs of dust to glint in the sunlight.

Title Track Single "Doo Doom Chit"

Track gallops and kicks right out of the gate. So much for my impression from the teaser that it'd go down a tad too easy.* In fact it's so pushy and crowded I'm having trouble disentangling it. The beat seems to be battling the atmospherics, while Crayon Pop prance steadfastly forward. Strong, but I don't know if I know how to hear it.

Anyone want to tell me how you're hearing it?

h/t David Frazer for the alert, and the post title.

*"There's a powerful monomaniacal repetition at 9 seconds in that lasts for two-and-a-half seconds ('Shaky shaky shaky HAH!' or something like that) which potentially upends or punks up the song in a good way. The rest at first listen goes down a tad too easy, though I like the flimsy discarded-cardboard drum-like sound that propels the track."
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So many days, so few posts.

Look, I'm really a comment-thread guy more than a blog guy, but making supposedly correct triage decisions not to engage in various Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. convos has left me w/out much public presence, while creating a lot of "notes" for posts here I should "write."

Not in the order they will, could, might, or won't appear:

--Grand opening for the hallway-classroom link and tag. I created them several months ago but have so far never properly introduced or promoted them. Perhaps there will be a banner and balloons.

--Tribal 2, the strong reasons people probably have for using the term "tribal" in a positive sense, like, regarding themselves even (which still doesn't mean you should use the word if you intend to engage in actual for real smart thinking, esp. pertaining to current political and social grouping(s)).

--Tribal 3, the strong reasons people like Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Ezra Klein, and a vast ever-multiplying et al. including probably you use the term "tribal" as a pejorative to denote one of the many things that fuck up and make stupid the current political etc. discourse (which still doesn't mean you or Krugman, DeLong, Klein, et al. should use the word if you intend to engage in actual for real smart thinking regarding current political and social grouping(s)). Paraphrases Upton Sinclair.

--Dead Lester 3. Yes, everyone is clamoring for this. </sarcasm>

--Dead Lester 4. One of the Dead Lester posts will be about why I think Paul Nelson never adequately responded to Irwin Silber. This post will be better received than the other one.

--Replication, in regard to understanding the utterances etc. of human beings other than oneself and perhaps other than yourself, too. This will be fun, I hope. It may refer back to the Mark Sinker adjunct thread that for a couple of years now I've been promising to add more to. The post may or may not refer to The Crisis Of Replication in the so-called social sciences, though that part of the post may be less fun.


--Oh My Girl wtf. ("Windy Day.")

--Cahiers du Cinema, Manny Farber. This post will not be as interesting as you were anticipating.

--Who is our most distant animal relative? This post will not answer the posed question, instead will be a meta meditation on taking sides, developing a rooting interest, etc., in which I will try to endeavor not to take sides or root for anything, except maybe will root for rooting and for taking sides, despite my failure to take sides, or root, in the post, unless I do take sides.

--That political discourse appears to batter through, demolish, and utterly flatten the wall between hallway and classroom while being the stupidest, most screwed-up, and destructive discourse in the world would seem to create a challenge to my assertion that (e.g.) rockcrits are being audacious and intellectually strong in not honoring the boundary between hallway and classroom. (The previous sentence leans heavily on the phrases "appears to" and "would seem to.")

--Is there a way for mathematics to finally click for me so that I might someday actually get it and enjoy it? (See the middle of Dave's post, here.)

--Yardbirds raveups.

--Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm." (Inspired by Edd Hurt's excellent comments on the "Antirockism Is Rockism" thread.)

--Interesting that Mark says "even the Ramones" (all bands being coalitions) given that the Ramones may be the epitome of a Bowie-Roxy-like "Oh oh oh, look look look, see the disparate elements we are combining," e.g., "See us do power chords with Ronettes melodies" and "Watch us do Dylan existential angst as if it's standard teen heartbreak" or "Watch us do Stones confronting-the-inner-fascist as dumb three-chord la-la-la" etc. etc. (This is a passage from a 4,000-word, rambling, very poorly integrated email I wrote and never sent because I hadn't finished it or remotely come close to figuring out what I was saying; perhaps a readable 1,500 words can be extracted from this. Potentially featuring Earth, Wind & Fire and the Pointer Sisters, who actually appear on a Kantner-Slick song.)

--Is "Only The Good Bits" as bad as "Too Many Bad Bits"? (Perhaps in regard to Paul Morley, and perhaps a continuation of PBS Revisited.)

--Why do we remember the past but not the future?

--Truffaut and Kogan (more of PBS Revisited).

--Wittgenstein doesn't buy into the dichotomy between particulars and universals. (This probably can be applied to the replication thing, now that I think about it.)


--I'm a comment-thread guy. I practically invented the comment thread. So why are even the good comment threads so killingly mediocre? Why is the Internet such a disappointment?
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Saw Ash-B's first appearance on Unpretty Rapstar and went, "Oh, no, they're making her/she's making herself sound tough and real and it won't work and she'll lose," so I averted my ears and avoided the show.

To my barely informed mind HyunA is now the dominant rapper in K-pop in that whenever anyone in Exid or 4minute who is not HyunA starts to rap or sing, I go, "This sort of sounds like HyunA but now I'm waiting for HyunA herself to show up." "Red" last year established this for me. (The wait is longer in Exid than in 4minute, obviously.)

Crayon Pop continue to score by ignoring past achievements; SHINee and Wonder Girls explicitly wallow in a past that's of course been implicit all along throughout the genre; most interesting freestylish moment, though, is "Delete," which casually pairs old NY-Philly-Miami riffs with cool autonomous vocals that you'd never ever have heard on an actual vintage freestyle track.

Since spring I've barely listened to anything that isn't medium-old jazz (Lee Konitz, Miles Davis).* So this list suffers, esp. in its dearth of No Tiers discoveries.** I've basically been relying on YouTube-generated playlists for K-pop and on random looks at the Singles Jukebox for everything else. I found Lila Downs via her "Cuando Me Tocas Tú" linked on Jonathan Bogart's Tumblr. (That track and Wonder Girls' "One Black Night" are candidates for my Freaky Trigger ballot, which allows album tracks.)

So, what have you been listening to?

1. Ash-B "매일"
2. The Seeya "The Song Of Love"
3. Azin "Delete"
4. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"

6. Crayon Pop "FM"
7. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
8. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
9. Momoiro Clover Z vs KISS "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
Daphne And Celeste through T-ara (11 through 20) )
SHINee through GFriend (21 through 33) )

*In jazz, I didn't like what I heard this year from previous fave Matana Roberts. Sounded like a parody of a 1950s bohemian séance.

**But let me reiterate my liking for the missed-by-me-last-year "Babomba" from the impressively overlooked (and now personnel-shifted) Badkiz.
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The mp3 blogs took a pass on Badkiz's "Babomba" last November which is why I didn't hear it. Could've made my top ten: it's like T-ara in relentless dance mode — "Sexy Love" and "Number 9" — but instead of those songs' strenuously beautiful love pain it's got high-pitched playground chants similar to those on Badkiz's previous single. Though he didn't produce this, Shinsadong Tiger, who wrote and produced "Sexy Love" and "Number 9," is listed as a co-writer (says Wikip). Maybe that's where most of the budget went, to the song and the sound.* The rather cheap video** has the band pushing foam in the face of annoying guys, maybe a follow-up to the funny anti-bully moves of Badkiz's first vid, but too crude and slack in its attempt at comic timing. The dancing is greatly improved but still rudimentary, the concept being to bend the torso and wave the hair. Manages to be appealing, in its little way, especially live.

(But on Inkigayo, they were, strangely, wearing hoodies, for a kind of delinquent-cute look, maybe. A YouTube wiseass suggested that this was to hide the fact they couldn't afford a hair stylist.)

Allkpop called the video concept "sexy and funny." I think when you come down to it Badkiz don't really have a concept. Maybe "invention a little outside the box," which draws comparison to Crayon Pop, but Crayon Pop really are inventive. How about: reasonably good voices and they're willing to try hard, with joy (guerilla performance here)? People on YouTube have been creating dance covers of Badkiz's simple moves, which gives me hope the band will continue. Two songs so far, both of high quality.

*"Babomba" also has a sequence where successive lines are started by a shouted number (3 and then 4), a gimmick Tiger lifted from "Hot Issue," the first track he did for 4minute.

**[UPDATE: The agency seems to have killed the original cheap video in favor of a cheap 2nd video made around the same time.]
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Thought my Kim Nana post was one of my most thoughtful and impassioned of 2013. Ended with the great line, "If I'm fourteen years old I know who I'm in love with."

But I'm not fourteen.

Anyway, lots of busyness over the last year and a half, some wonderful, some desperate, but not giving me time to more than glance at ilX K-pop, much less bother with the gossip sites, so I had no idea there'd been a Dahee story until I stumbled on it today.

"Although the defendants have admitted that they did blackmail Lee Byung Hun with a video file of a lewd conversation, they insisted that they did not do this with financial gain as their goal, but rather due to feeling betrayed and scorned that Lee Byung Hun had used Lee Ji Yeon simply as a sexual object, after Lee Byung Hun had notified Lee Ji Yeon of wanting to break up. However, after looking at the KakaoTalk history as well as various documents, it does not appear that the victim [Lee Byung Hun] and Lee Ji Yeon were lovers, and it seems that the defendants had committed the crime for the purpose of financial gain."
Dahee's side was that:

"As Dahee is very close to Lee Ji Yeon, she felt that Lee Ji Yeon had been manipulated. She thought that if Lee Ji Yeon offered the video to a media outlet, she could receive money. She thought that the money the media outlet offered would be the same as what the actor would give, so they requested 5 billion KRW. Dahee was under the wrong impression that this was a normal transaction."
I'm not going to recount everything. Here's the Allkpop tag, if you want to explore. No telling of the story makes Dahee look good.


And this one makes her seem especially bad:

The two girls also apparently planned on capturing a scene in which Lee Byung Hun and Dahee would be hugging. So last month on the 29th, they called Lee Byung Hun to Dahee's home and Lee Ji Yeon's phone was set up near the sink to capture such a moment. However, a chance for them to hug did not come along, so Lee Ji Yeon, who had been waiting outside, came inside and showed the actor the video they had taken of their lewd conversation and threatened him. Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon brought out two travel bags and asked for 5 billion KRW. However, the actor left and reported them to the police, and on September 1 the two ladies were arrested.
The tale ends, for the time being, with Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon released early from jail in March, after six months, now on probation for two years, presumably with their careers ruined. And with daring, audacious group GLAM disbanded.

Anyone been keeping tabs on what Zinni is up to?

Two thoughts )
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Am more ambivalent about "Chick Chick" than the high ranking indicates, given the social inequity underlying the song: the vocals are utterly pedestrian during the cutesy "mǔ jī mǔ jī mǔ jī mǔ jī" stuff and during the rap; the track only starts to cook when the screaming and the chicken clucking and the cackling let loose. It's then that it goes to syncopated excitement, a great visceral speed chase — really penetrates the nervous system, sorta like Bob Quine's guitar lines back in the Voidoids. But my needing to reach so far back for an example, and to guitar sounds rather than singing, leads me to this disturbing conclusion: Chickens are now more credibly penetrating than human beings are. Oh yeah, and if this list and my own viscera are representative (big "if," since they're quite possibly not, and if I'd listened to more hip-hop and rock and banda* maybe I'd know this), women are more credibly penetrating than guys are, women are more credibly tough than guys are, women are more aggressively cute than guys are, women front for rock music better than guys do, women front for heartbreak better than guys do, etc. But I've been worrying about this for years, every time I post one of these lists. And since I'm a glass-is-half-empty kind of a guy, I don't attribute this to women being good but rather to guys being lousy. And it isn't that I believe males no longer have talent, but rather that they're not finding musical models that work for them — as singers and front men, that is; when the spotlight's not on, guys are there contributing to the adventure, as instrumentalists, songwriters, dancers, impresarios, owners. Actually, the boybands are great dancers. And as for "not finding models that work for them," what's really — or merely — evident in this list is that guys are not finding models to make music that works for me. Boybands are doing fine among the fans. I'd have ranked boybands Vixx and Infinite higher if the singers had pulled off the high emotion, but the songs are gripping nonetheless.

Oh yeah, and I'm also pissed off that it's mainly young women and young men on my list (even my token trot track is by a relative youngster), but I've harangued about that before too.

I'll note that celebrated chickenphobe HyunA kicked butt this year (as well as displaying, slapping, and embracing butt (of more than one species)), and was somewhat penetrating back in 2011 deploring chickens. And that A Pony Named Olga are male human beings, not ponies.

Bold for tracks I added since October 1.

1. Wa$$up "Jingle Bell"
2. The Chainsmokers "#Selfie"
3. HyunA "Red"
4. BiS "STUPiG"
5. Kate Nash "Sister"
6. Courtney Love "Wedding Day"
7. Orange Caramel "So Sorry"
8. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q "2 On"
9. Nicki Minaj "Lookin' Ass Nigga"
10. Crayon Pop "Uh-ee"
11. Orange Caramel "My Copycat"

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12. After School "Shh"
13. Shakira ft. Rihanna "Can't Remember To Forget You"
14. A Pony Named Olga "Funny What You Pray"
15. Wang Rong "Chick Chick"
16. Vixx "Error"

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17. Future ft. Pharrell, Pusha T & Casino "Move That Dope"
18. T-ara "First Love"
19. Puer Kim "Manyo Maash"
20. Danity Kane "Bye Baby"
21. Badkiz "Ear Attack"
22. PungDeng-E "잘탕 (잘 시간이 어딨어)"
23. GP Basic "Black Bounce"
24. Serebro "Ya Tebya Ne Otdam"
25. Dal★shabet "B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)"
26. Ca$h Out "She Twerkin"
27. Crayon Pop "C'mon C'mon"
28. Arcade Fire "We Exist"
29. The Hold Steady "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You"
30. Gabylonia "Tirano"

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31 through 70 )

By the way, I'm only half-joking about the credibility of chickens — not that chicken sounds are inherently credible, but if it's Wang Rong herself doing the chicken vocals — and I think it is — the chicken voice unleashes something in her that she can't do otherwise in anything close to her own voice, at least not in the several tracks of hers I've listened to on YouTube. (But, given that Wikip says she's been putting out music since the early '00s, I've hardly got an overview of her work. This one's nice enough, this one's got some interesting voice maneuverings, and on this one she sings with authority.)

A Pony Named Olga )
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Always meaning to post more, and also need to comment on a shitload of things (three Mark Sinker threads need more input from me — Inuit tech, Oasis, hallway-classroom [UPDATE: Sinker links added] — not to mention what I owe Mark behind the scenes). In the meantime, here are links to four five blogposts from Paul Krugman on the use of models. Krugman's saying that to understand anything about economies you have to make simplifying assumptions, simpler often being better as long as (1) the models still tell you something useful and (2) you know when life is telling you to turn 'em off or rethink 'em. Subtheme is that, according to Krugman, many conservatives do this absolutely backwards, that is, refuse to turn off the microeconomics model as the supposed source from which all macroeconomics must derive, while at the same time decrying macroeconomic models that could save billions of people suffering and millions of lives if policy makers would act on them.

Dare To Be Silly

Too Much Faith In Models, Capital Taxation Division

Economic Realism (Wonkish)

Jean Tirole and the Triumph of Calculated Silliness

The State of Macro, Six Years Later [UPDATE: Added this link here (it's the "Subtheme" link above) because Krugman states his concerns more emphatically than he had in his previous post]

The New Economic Geography, Now Middle-Aged [UPDATE: Added this link here, and here's where I originally discussed it]

Also, there was this, from me:

Neither rational nor irrational

The discussion with Mark, if I ever have time for it, would include my own justification for my simplifying assumptions (hallway-classroom, for instance; also, the Rolling Stones and call-and-response, also jocks-burnouts-and-sometimes-freaks) and where he and I need to create more of them.
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I've been claiming that K-pop has a load of freestyle embedded in it, though I can't say how much of this is conscious, how much subliminal (e.g., GLAM knew they were sampling Chuli & Miae but seemed unaware that what they'd sampled was already a sample from the Cover Girls), and how much underived convergence (drawing on similar '80s and electronic sources, you can develop strategies and sounds that are similar to freestyle without their coming directly from freestyle). As far as I know, the word "freestyle" doesn't itself tend to pop up in K-pop as a reference to the NY-Miami '80s electronic dance style.*

Be that as it may, producer Shinsadong Tiger only sometimes delves into freestyle,** but there's a moment near the start of the regular mix*** of T-ara's "Sugar Free" where he's doing a fricassee chop and sugar toss right out of Mickey Garcia and Elvin Molina, for instance this from the Garcia-Molina production of Judy Torres' "Come Into My Arms" and this from their production of Cynthia's "Change On Me." Overall, "Sugar Free"'s hard four-four is far from freestyle, but "Sugar Free" has a recurring riff that also reminds me of Garcia and Molina in its bounce and its fast twistiness. Here are the three songs in full, which are very much worth your time:

T-ara "Sugar Free"

Judy Torres "Come Into My Arms"
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Cynthia "Change On Me"
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"Sugar Free" is the third consecutive riff-heavy throw-you-against-the-wall electronic dance track that Tiger's done for T-ara ("Sexy Love" and "Number 9" being the previous two), and once again I like it, all three being appropriately grimmer than the charming "Roly-Poly" and "Lovey-Dovey" he'd done for them pre-"scandal" (though I'm sure "Sexy Love" was conceived pre-scandal, so this likely is a coincidence). Still, I miss the charm. I have a bit of the same reaction to "Sugar Free" that I had to the Duble Sidekick–produced "Jeon Won Diary," which is that the track itself seems to be overwhelming the T-ara-ness. I feel this might have been more naturally a 4minute song, owing to the crescendo parts reminiscent of "Volume Up" and the way the title chant and the raps seem to be aching for HyunA's comically agressive pouting. These aren't criticisms. Having been thrown down a notch commercially, T-ara are still throwing down gripping music.

As for other recent T-ara product, the Jiyeon EP works very well for me while the Hyomin EP doesn't, though the latter has pretty good material. Hyomin may be the group's most emblematic singer, sounding sketchy yet strong in the higher register, so not quite "fierce" or "emphatic" but the one most defining of the high pitch, the one who makes it shred, even if her singing gets shredded a bit in the process. The shredding comes across as emotional commitment. But maybe she needs the other T-ara voices preceding and following her for everything to jell.

Jiyeon of course has been playing a role in my imagination that may have little to do with her. I cast her as the foil, perhaps? That may not be the right word. She's not counter to the bright T-ara sound, she's just not being the one to light it up. Stands off to the side in a way that draws her emotional attention anyway. On Never Ever her uninflected breathiness paradoxically gives gravity to the light sentimental material.

*As opposed to meaning raps that are off-the-cuff rather than entirely prewritten, this being an entirely different use of the word "freestyle."

**While 4minute's "Hot Issue" feels very freestyle to me, there's not a lot more from Tiger that does so — though in a brief moment in "Number 9," Jiyeon did manage to make me think of Brenda K. Starr's and Pajama Party's "Over And Over." And I feel

***Interestingly, it's not the regular mix but the tougher, bigger, and more spacious Big Room mix that's getting the big promo push from the label.
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Even with S. Korea having canceled spring on account of the ferry disaster (as Subdee says), I'm woefully behind on K-pop, and my listening elsewhere has been too random and intermittent even to be called scattershot. But anyway, int'l dance cheese goes strong at its most opportunist (Chainsmokers, Orange Caramel, Badkiz [the "Party Rock Anthem" influence still potent in Seoul], PungDeng-E, Arcade Fire, Mia Martina), whereas the boring int'l amalgamated danceR&Bglaze&crud that's been weighing down charts worldwide since 2009 somehow manages to sound touching in the hands of a Shakira and a Rihanna who've had all their distinctive characteristics removed. Danity Kane go retro, referencing Teena Marie; equally retro Dal★shabet, who still can't sing for shit, nonetheless find themselves immersed in great freestyle riffs. Ole punk manages not to be dead in the hands of poignantly desperate and angry Kate Nash and Courtney Love. T-ara, Jiyeon, and Puer Kim veer smoove and After School master smoove. Few boys' mouths, as is usual on my lists these days; fewer still who sing. And as the biz still invests almost nothing in us oldsters, funky fresh young Crayon Pop represent on our behalf.


1. Wa$$up "Jingle Bell"
2. The Chainsmokers "#Selfie"
3. BiS "STUPiG"
4. Kate Nash "Sister"
5. Courtney Love "Wedding Day"

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6. Orange Caramel "So Sorry"
7. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q "2 On"
8. Nicki Minaj "Lookin' Ass Nigga"
9. Crayon Pop "Uh-ee"
10. After School "Shh"
Future through Shakira )
Bass Drum through Rascal )


1. After School Dress To Kill [Avex Trax]
2. Kali Mutsa Souvenance [Shock Music]

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Crayon Pop seem to be occupying a social space that doesn't exist in America: not of the mainstream but with no apparent estrangement from the mainstream either, not even to the extent that the mainstream itself is estranged from the mainstream (being estranged from the mainstream is a mainstream attitude). And while Crayon Pop gathered a fanatic core audience before they hit big — people who traveled miles to the Crayon Pop appearances and chanted along with the guerrilla street performances — that audience seemed to be doting-uncle types, not connoisseur types. But then, what counts as "connoisseur" isn't set in stone. For instance, Sunday evenings are an unofficial car show in the parking lots along Federal Blvd. on Denver's Hispanic west side, people hopping into their vehicles and finding spots to show off. There are many venues for discerning eyes.

In any event, Crayon Pop seem to be into music more for the art of it and the process than for fame and fortune or even a career.* Going "trot" this year with "Uh-ee" (and dressing like aunties) fits this: the attitude is "What can we try next?" Makes me think of the otherwise very different "Gentleman," by Psy: not a followup to "Gangnam Style" so much as "What can I do to shift around and fake you out?" But Psy is coming from a well-trod social territory, the outsider hip-hop guy who breaks big but still wants to set the terms of discussion. Whereas with Crayon Pop it's more like, "What color should we paint our house now?" At least that's how Crayon Pop come across. So even if they are secret bohemians (Way did got to art school, for instance), that's not where they live in the public landscape.

Whether or not you think I'm right about Crayon Pop, and even if you don't pay attention to K-pop, I have this question:

Who else — anywhere, present or past — seems to be occupying a social space similar to the one I describe for Crayon Pop?

I'm thinking that certain potential stuff wouldn't count, the reason being it has too much of a chip on its shoulder and too much outsider status: early hip-hop dj's in the Seventies, for instance, or the custom car shows and stock-car races and demolition derbies of the early Sixties that Tom Wolfe analyzed and celebrated in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Or maybe I'm wrong, and we should count these things.

Anyway, bohemia from nowhere near bohemia.

Also, we need a new term. "Bohemia" is played out. Care to coin one?

As delinquent lollipop girls in "Bing Bing," five months before fame:

Disco trot Hey Mister )

Opening for Gaga in Milwaukee )
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Reposting this from Tumblr, where Tom Ewing links a piece at NPR by Amy Kamenetz. Here are Tom's comments (though I'm not sure whom he's quoting at the start) and underneath them my own speculation:

If kids report that they’re transgender and have one leg and belong to a gang and have several children … take it with a grain of salt.
This is a good article on, basically, kids trolling surveys for a laugh. It happens a lot. If I was a kid in the age of online surveys, I’d do it too. Especially if it was one of those surveys where the sole purpose is a hand-wringing clickbait headline about how kids these days think the Earth is flat or would marry their iPhone or whatever. If you’re offered a ludicrous answer in a survey designed to confirm someone’s view of how crappy the modern world is or how dumb everybody is - well, it’s hardly surprising some people take the hint.

But as one look at the article summary tells you, this is also a real problem. What the industry euphemistically calls “hard-to-reach” populations - small minority populations, basically - are actually harmed by this kind of stuff. The article has a good example - a study that reported negative impacts of adoption turned out to show nothing of the sort when troll answers got taken out.

I am not part of any population that suffers from prejudice or bias - name a privilege and I benefit from it. But I am a researcher, so I see at reasonably close hand what happens to data. And it seems to me that data and representation have a treacherous relationship. Inevitably, since people find in data what they are looking for.

On the one hand, data can offer stark evidence of inequalities, different needs and priorities, and different experiences: numbers that can be vital in making a case for change. On the other, data can be the comfort blanket that tells decision makers that change isn’t important. Research can erase minorities by reducing them to the status of a statistical insignificance, or it can ignore the diversity of their experiences in favour of a data-enforced average. There is every reason for people to mistrust data and research.

And cases like the adoption study one introduce yet another such reason - the possibility that careless research will end up magnifying the voices of the mischievous (or, let’s face it, malicious) and endorse stigmatizing myths instead of revealing anything useful. The remedies outlined - dummy questions in particular - are ingenious, and this kind of internal check should be routine in any important survey. But the uneasy relationship between research and representation - at the analysis stage as well as the collection stage - is harder to solve.
Article doesn't mention gender, but I would wager that most mischievous responders are male. I'd also bet - not quite as confidently - that because the surveys were done in a classroom, and despite their being anonymous, they got a higher rate of mischief than if the responders hadn't been in the same room together in a teen-specific setting.

I'm relying on my imperfect memory here, but I recall an article in Billboard in the '80s that stated that teen girls had an outsize effect on what was played on Top 40 radio because researchers simply didn't trust what teen boys would tell them and therefore discounted what the boys said or wouldn't even survey boys - if I remember right, the article didn't cite boys' tendency towards mischief but rather said that boys were hostile and defensive (and I assume underlying this, frightened; and I assume the mischief is somewhat fear-based itself). Whereas you could trust a girl's response much more, that she listened to what she said she did, that she bought the advertised products she said she did. (But from reading your posts over the years I wouldn't be surprised if you were to tell me that the reliability of girls' responses is only relatively better, that there are all sorts of reasons that even sincere responses can't be trusted, ranging from the respondents' not understanding the question to their not knowing their own mind, etc.)
koganbot: (Default)
Just in time for my first quarter wrap, Crayon Pop show up in shtetl garb traditionalist clothing, playing old people's music as the young-un's in back discreetly tap their toes. Above them in the ten, Wa$$up ring my bell, BiS prove that Anti-Idol is Idol, Tinashe brushes my Cassie spot, Future gets together with a bunch of other dopes to move some dope, Kate Nash punks better than she'd ever quirked, Orange Caramel assay a disco-Cuban b-side to which they barely even attempt to dance, Dal★shabet crochet in freestyle, Puer Kim does an elegant monster maash, and Nicki Minaj scores by any means necessary.

1. Wa$$up "Jingle Bell"
2. BiS "STUPiG"
3. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q "2 On"
4. Future ft. Pharrell, Pusha T & Casino "Move That Dope"
5. Kate Nash "Sister"

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6. Orange Caramel "So Sorry"
7. Dal★shabet "B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)"
8. Puer Kim "Manyo Maash"
9. Nicki Minaj "Lookin' Ass Nigga"
10. Crayon Pop "Uh-ee"

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11 through 20 )

Jingle the bell.

koganbot: (Default)
Although the powers that be are transliterating the title, "어이," of the forthcoming Crayon Pop single as "Uh-ee," that's very wrong: first, in pronunciation it's "Aw-ee" not "Uh-ee" if you separate out each syllable as written; and second, Crayon Pop shout it out fast without separating the syllables, and clearly they're saying "Oy"!

The title is "Oy"! The title is "Oy"! The title is "Oy"! We should circulate a petition.

May they do a trot version of "Hava Nagila" shortly.

David Frazer has taken to calling them Crayon Trot in the New Digs thread (which has become a thread about what he and I are digging, incl. not just the new Crayon Pop but also tracks by Tren-D, Vixx, PungDeng-E, LPG, and Dal★shabet; also contains the interesting information that Crayon Pop will open for Lady Gaga* for about a month of Gaga's North American tour this summer), the "Oy" rhythm definitely being trot. Crayon Pop are also deliberately crossing us up sartorially, donning elegant duds in the teaser (away with the cute speed racer helmets) and then crossing us up further with old-woman ajumma costumes in promo photos and onstage. [UPDATE: Turns out it's not them in the elegant duds, but rather upper-crust "clubgoers," audience members in the video whose elegant boredom is disrupted by Crayon Pop's ajumma act and are then won over.]

Had to look up "ajumma" in Wikip when David dropped the term on us; "is a Korean word meaning 'aunt' literally, however, it is used for calling name of 'married woman,' which is generally only used to refer to women who are middle-aged or older, and working-class." "The Lonely Planet guide to Seoul describes ajumma as a term of respect, but most other sources say it is mildly pejorative. An ajumma is often a restaurant worker, street vendor, or housewife. Ajumma has connotations of pushiness, with ajumma described as hard-working and aggressive people who 'push and shove their way through a crowd to find a seat in the bus or subway,' 'grab you by the arm and try to get you to eat at their place,' or 'push' friends and relatives to buy insurance."

Crayon Pop in it for the art of it )

*Whom they expect to mash with, er, mesh with.

New digs

Mar. 16th, 2014 06:59 am
koganbot: (Default)
As you may have surmised, foreign agents shut off the transponder on my home DSL. Search parties expect to find said DSL sometime midweek. In the meantime I've been walking around my new neighborhood. I'm now living in heavily Latino west Denver, though my apt is just a couple minutes' walk from the Little Saigon business strip on Federal. The ratio of phở joints to marijuana establishments is about 30:1, a ratio you don't find in other parts of the city.

(Spambots are still pounding the hell out of my comment threads. With my not having frequent Internet access, spam posts may accumulate. I'll do my best not to delete legitimate comments.)
koganbot: (Default)
K-pop kills it for Christmas:

UPDATE: The "Jingle Bell" vid is now inexplicably blocked in the U.S. (it's on Wa$$up's own VEVO, ffs); here's an audio stream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9CfIPRc1Kg. RE-UPDATE: They posted another one, so I re-upped, but I'll keep the audio stream just in case.] [UPDATING THE UPDATE: Now they've taken it off this VEVO and onto another of theirs. So I've re-upped once again.]

h/t centurion of prix, David Frazer.
koganbot: (Default)
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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koganbot: (Default)
Posted this on a Freaky Trigger comment thread:

The elephants in the room of popular music, the ones who not only don't get talked about by critics and who (as far as I know) don’t get paid attention to on news or entertainment sites either, but who also get undercounted on Billboard and are mostly excluded from the Brit singles chart and therefore Popular, include what was historically called "easy listening" or "beautiful music," as well as smooth jazz, quiet storm, lite rock, adult contemporary, urban AC, and oldies. Music liked by the audiences [for such genres and formats] will always get undercounted because their listening is less concentrated on specific tracks and less concentrated on recently released ones but also because these audiences are less likely to buy the music directly, whether on a single or an album. They're nonetheless consumers, and presumably respond to what gets advertised on radio and TV (and now on YouTube?).

But I’m guessing these audiences download a lot that in the old days they'd never have purchased in physical form, and that there's been a change in e.g. the way people listen on the job from, in days of yore, hearing a radio station piped into an entire office to, nowadays, listening to their individual iPods and such. I emphasize that these are guesses.
Ref. to "Popular" is to Tom Ewing's project over the last decade of blurbing and shepherding a discussion on every track to hit number 1 on the British singles chart from 1952 to the present — hence also my reference to the Brit singles chart.

The phrase "elephant in the room" usually refers to something that everyone affected by knows is there — a mother's drug addiction, for instance — but that, owing to e.g. family members' desire to sustain their habitual ways of working around the problem and getting through the day without too much pain, no one is willing to talk about. Whereas (1) "adult contemporary" and ilk are only a problem for someone, if there is such a person, who takes all of Anglo-American popular music as a good hunk of their remit and (2) such genres, though big enough, are generally barely attended to by those who don't deliberately tune to the stations, so are in effect invisible, and so discussion is simply not generated rather than being psychologically suppressed.

I myself don't feel a great imperative to try and take the measure of e.g. Jason Mraz and Michael Bublé; they're part of the general environment of the music I do care about, so I'd rather have knowledge than not have knowledge. But the world is full of other relevant stuff, such as the economics and sociology of music, music theory, J-pop, and so forth, that I'm also not paying enough attention to, and that I'm more interested in. So Mraz, Bublé, et al. will continue to get short shrift from me.*

Actual elephant hiding under the cut )

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Footnotes )
koganbot: (Default)
The title of this post is a bait-and-switch, actually, since my fundamental motive is to get you to read my old Las Vegas Weekly piece on "cumulative advantage," which is a concept from economics and sociology that I think everyone needs to know.

To summarize in one sentence that combines two ideas: small advantages in fame, wealth, power, etc. can grow into large advantages, large advantages can grow into larger still, and there's always, ineradicably, an element of randomness, of luck, as to what gets the small advantage in the first place, and what gets to leap from one level to the next. So, all fame is viral, and we can never be certain in advance as to which viruses will catch hold and which won't.* But once something is famous, the fame is very hard to dislodge.** So my first point of the day:

(1) There's always an element of luck when anyone or anything becomes well-known. Always. This includes Darwin as well as Rihanna. From the piece:

The more people know about each other’s choices, the more likely they are to come to agreement. In retrospect, this strong agreement can make an outcome seem as if it had been inevitable: Look, all these people agree, so this must reflect the taste of the public, or the quality of the merchandise. But in fact the experiment [by Duncan Watts and crew] shows the exact opposite. The more people know about each other’s choices, the less predictable the outcome.***
(By the way, the passage would have been just as correct if I'd added "size of the promotional budget" to the phrases "taste of the public" or "quality of the merchandise.")

(2) My second point is about explanations, not about cumulative advantage. Even disregarding luck, people who claim to know the (other) reasons "Bar Bar Bar" became a hit have at least some shit in their thinking: no explanation of such a single social event is testable.**** For instance, take the idea that "Bar Bar Bar" became a hit because Crayon Pop are different from everyone else in K-pop — they have a different look, and "Bar Bar Bar" has a different sound — which seems like a good explanation to me, and is one I myself would give, despite all these caveats. The trouble is that if "Bar Bar Bar" had not hit, I could have used that very same reason to explain Crayon Pop's failure. And EXO, whose music is at least as novel as Crayon Pop's, didn't go top 10 in Korea until they hit with the relatively conventional "Growl."

(3) Putting 1 and 2 together: there's an element of luck as to which explanations themselves become common and accepted. Cumulative advantage applies to ideas as well as to people and songs.

The problem with the phrase "element of luck" is that it doesn't tell us how large the element is. In my limited reading, I've seen no way of specifying the percentage luck plays in cumulative advantage. Is luck 10 percent of the reason one song became a hit, and 80 percent of the reason another one did? How do we quantify this sort of luck? It's not like a coin flip, which we know is 50 percent, or the roll of a die, which is 16⅔ percent. [EDIT: Well, assuming the coin is balanced and the die isn't rigged, the chance of a particular result of a coin flip is 50 percent and of the roll of a die is 16⅔ percent, but the percentage attributable to luck is 100 percent for each: it's entirely chance.]

The break )


Aug. 28th, 2013 07:14 pm
koganbot: (Default)
We've broken 500!

500 what?

Well, whenever someone posts a comment in [livejournal.com profile] koganbot, the comment is sent to my lj inbox. If I think the comment needs me to think about it further and/or a reply from me, I save it. Once I reply or think I'm more-or-less finished with it, I delete it. So, there are now 519 comments in my lj inbox that merit further consideration or a reply without having yet gotten the consideration or reply. (Actually, a few of the comments are in [livejournal.com profile] snsd_ffa, now that I've readjusted my settings to get those, too.)

So, for instance, I still would like to think further about what [livejournal.com profile] petronia and [livejournal.com profile] askbask and [livejournal.com profile] sub_divided and [livejournal.com profile] arbitrary_greay said regarding the Minami controversy, especially as to what is or isn't happening in Korea, whether and how much and why some K-pop idols might be under a no-dating or a don't ask/don't tell regime.

And if you listed a set of tracks and LPs in the comment thread to my mid-year list, 2011, I still hope to listen to what you listed.

And I want to respond to what AG has said about journalism regarding K-pop and what AG and [livejournal.com profile] greywing said during the discussion of white participation in K-pop.

And I've still got to go through that list of live Big Bang performances that [livejournal.com profile] sub_divided thoughtfully provided. (Also, though it's not on lj, [livejournal.com profile] askbask posted a very useful rundown of BoA's career over on ilX's K-pop 2013 thread that I hope will produce lots of future listening from me.)



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