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I feel emotionally battered by the election, feeling simultaneously vulnerable and malicious, as if I'll be attacked for anything and nothing and I run constant fantasies of going back and settling old scores.

I've been sitting on most of this list for a month now, wondering what to say. I don't know how this music "plays" among the people most affected by it. I'm also not completely sure whom I should consider the "people most affected by it," anyway: thirteen-year-olds uneasily trying to figure out who they are and what other people think of them, and being subjected to this music, to these vids? Kids who when they listen don't see or hear themselves and wonder what's wrong with themselves for not being like it, kids who do see themselves and don't like what they see, kids who like what they hear, like what they see, don't realize they're being set up, kids who are inspired to change themselves, kids who are just having a good time, um [trying to think of positive impacts], kids who grasp these as vehicles for love, for excitement, for conversation, for adventure? I don't know. Kids who like the way they look when they dance to this? Kids who hate the kids who dance to this?

—Why am I privileging "kids" here? ('Cause they're the ones for whom "who am I?" social choices are still fairly open, and influenced.) Why am I still listening to so much kids' stuff, anyway? (Well, other stuff I listen to isn't likely to produce singles.)

But, age 62, wondering why I'm not finding or particularly searching for good music fronted by people my age, two-thirds my age, three-fifths my age, even half my age; or fronted by male people; or explicitly political from the political Left.

I hardly ever visit the lyrics translation sites,* if the lyrics would provide much of a hint.

So I'm not doing much research, am I? Just sitting around wondering.

Locker room talk: I was molested (in a bullying, taunting way) in an actual locker room when I was a teenager. I recently dashed off a piece for my writers group about how if I imagined myself on the bus with Trump I'd think he was, among other things, challenging and bullying me. It didn't dawn on me to include what was done to me back in my track-and-field locker room. In my junior high bullying piece back in WMS #9 I said something like, "It was all over by ninth grade," but the molesting happened when I was in 9th grade, so clearly it wasn't all over. I don't know if I ever even brought up the locker room with a therapist (until last Wednesday, when I did). Maybe I thought (somewhat correctly) that it was relatively small cheese in comparison to the effect of the verbal teasing of a few years earlier. Anyway, songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided.

From approximately 1963 through 1980 people more-or-less "socially" like me made great music that had a strong public presence. Afterwards, they didn't. ("People more-or-less socially like me" is vague enough.)

This is why I never post this. I'm just... not wanting to put thoughts together. Making excuses, it feels like.

Tension two paragraphs back between the phrase "people more-or-less socially like me" and the fact that one way of being "like me" is having a similar visceral response or aesthetic sensibility.

So, if I were to study old Mayan art and somewhat understand its world and be moved by it, does that make me more Mayan (if only marginally so) than I'd been before? (But do I have any idea whether my being "moved by it" is similar to how the Mayan's responded to it or what they did with it? Well, presumably if I'd done some research I'd have some idea about that, too.)

I get the sense that K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream and is geared towards cheerleader types and jocks more than to the freaks and the greasers (to use ancient terminology from a different part of the world). Also, duh, I don't know what I'm talking about it. Cheerleaders and jocks aren't necessarily more conservative than greasers, anyway, and are often less explicitly reactionary. Also, I assume (not necessarily correctly) that those who create K-pop are living in a Seoul version of Hollyweird, hence a bit more liberal than their audience. I think of particular performers, e.g. Brown Eyed Girls, and video director Hwang Soo Ah, as being vaguely on the "left." Whereas T-ara, for instance, traffic less in the need for some kind of breakout. But, e.g., T-ara's videos with director Cha Eun-taek hardly seem authoritarian or particularly traditionalist, and many of them are very good. (Cha Eun-taek is in the news right now in relation to an emerging government influence-peddling scandal, but not only do I truly know little about it, I'm wary even on my Blog That No One Reads of linking someone to the word "scandal" when I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm mindful of how the simple constant repetition of phrases like "T-ara bullying scandal" and "Clinton email scandal" creates the sense in the broad public that certain people MUST be in the wrong, even when most of the public has no idea whether or where there really is a scandal and what the alleged wrong is. Cha to his credit was one of the few industry people to tweet in support of T-ara (and Eunjung in particular) during their duress.)

"Songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided." (Songs Implicated In Bullying Scandal!)

In the old days, when more people read my lj, at least a few people who knew more than I do would come along and help me out.

Here's a YouTube playlist of my Top Singles, 2016; will continue to be updated. Think I'm probably underrating the Mike Larry and overrating the will.i.am:

YouTube playlist: Ongoing Singles 2016

1. HyunA "How's This?"
2. Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy "Make Me..."
3. Crayon Pop "Vroom Vroom"
4. 4minute "Canvas"
5. FAMM'IN "Circle"

6. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
7. Era Istrefi "BonBon"
8. Aommy "Shake"
9. Serebro "Slomana"
10. NCT 127 "Fire Truck"
11. Wonder Girls "Why So Lonely"
12. DLOW "Do It Like Me"
13. Oh My Girl "Windy Day"
14. Serebro "Let Me Go"
15. Blackpink "Whistle"

16. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
17. Britney Spears "Do You Wanna Come Over?"
18. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
19. Your Old Droog "42 (Forty Deuce)"
20. Serebro "Chocolate"
21 through 52 )

*Pop!gasa has a good reputation, though I forget who said so (which makes my use of "reputation" in this sentence a good example of what reputation is).
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I'm only two views in, but so far this seems way more angry than funny. I wasn't expecting it. The jokes appear mean, deliberately, like tacks on a chair, electric-shock handshakes. Maybe Psy's attitude is that the decorum he's throwing raspberries at is mean in itself, so he'll be mean to decorum.

Nine comments down I see:

cjua2803 6 seconds ago
PSy is such a troll lmao
The music is relentlessly nondevelopmental. Intentionally refuses to give us any release.

As a dance track, it isn't as compelling in its maddening repetition as "Harlem Shake," but maybe that's beside the point, if there is one.

Btw, Ga-In, his partner in mischief here, the one who gets him back with the chair trick, was in the best K-pop video I've seen ("Irreversible"), and another that's in my top ten ("Abracadabra").

*Maybe I should've been. The only Psy track I knew other than "Gangnam Style" was "Right Now," which maybe isn't just about getting the commuters to shake and the secretaries to feel better; maybe it also harbors background dreams of giving a wrong time, stopping a traffic line. The gag in the "Gangnam Style" vid is something of a "what am I doing here?" in relation to the posh life of Gangnam; in this one the answer seems to be "I'm fucking everyone up."


Feb. 6th, 2013 09:54 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] warthoginrome writes:

I don't know if you had the chance to run into this news, so I wanted to point it out, because the topic is common to the entire asian pop scene.

The story is about Minami Minegishi (20 y.o.), member of the japanese group AKB48. A tabloid published some photographs of her leaving the apartment of her boyfriend, Alan Shirahama (19 y.o.), member of the boy band Generations.

As you may guess, Minami is bound to a "contract" which prohibits any kind of relationships. After the bomb exploded, she decided (spontaneously?) to cut her hair and record a public apology. In the video she apologizes to colleagues, family, and fans, reproaching herself for having been "thoughtless and immature," and specifying that "I don't believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don't want to quit AKB48." In the meantime, the agency demoted her from the "senior" to the "trainee" rank, for "for causing a nuisance to the fans."

I don't really know why, but as soon as I saw the video, the T-ARA controversy came to my mind, because I find it hard to tolerate the unlimited power of the so called netizens (better, customers). This is really too much. I know that, after all, Minami is more fortunate than many boys and girls of her age living in much tougher conditions around the globe, but I feel bad for her anyway.
Checking this out myself, I see that American news outlets have been all over this story, reporting that the incident has provoked pushback and even outrage in Japan, people calling the treatment of Minami unfair and saying it amounts to bullying (many people assuming she had little choice in the matter of close-cropping her hair).

 photo Minami Minegishi shaved head.jpg

Some American (I assume) commentators at The Young Turks provided their own perspective, and my crap detector says that they didn't actually research the culture, that they're making guesses as to the attitudes behind the no-dating rule. ("You're no good unless you're virginal, you're no good unless you're pure, you're no good unless I actually have a shot at sleeping with you sometime in the future.") But then, I haven't researched it either. And just because they're guessing doesn't mean they're wrong.

Crossing the border )

G-Dragon )

Results nobody wants )
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Writing has its own versions of Auto-tune and plastic surgery: they're called "rewriting" and "editing" (incl. in-the-head and unconscious editing, before your own or another person's hand even starts reworking the prose).

Okay, those aren't great analogies and I'm not going to push them. Just, I have a gut-level aversion to the idea of someone undergoing plastic surgery (not counting to repair injuries and to compensate for gross disfigurement), but "gut-level aversion" is not the same thing as an idea or an argument. And, you know, we do alter ourselves in the way we face the world — words and demeanor. So why especially recoil when the altering is done by knife? Anyway, I'm not of the age or gender or profession to suffer negative consequences from refusing plastic surgery. Whereas I've read (though what I read was unsourced) that some K-pop contracts give agencies the right to force female trainees to "alter [their] look or image if necessary," presumably with a scalpel.

Here're Brown Eyed Girls, pushing back at the antis:

I'm not dead sure how to interpret this. Plastic surgery is here, it's real, we've probably done it ourselves, deal with it. There's aggression in the skit, but not necessarily a clear target, or a clear reason for the laughter. The issue causes discomfort; you milk the discomfort for comedy. This YouTube comment probably comes close:

This is just awesome and right on the spot. I can't [get] with men (society in general) who hate 'ugly' girls but criticize those who do plastic surgery or even put on make up! Not everybody naturally fits beauty standards, so fuck you.
Grimes' Vanessa )

Brown Eyed Girls' Abracadabra )

h/t Mat
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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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So far The Voice in 2012 has produced no moments of genius to match Dia Frampton's "Heartless," though "Cinderella" is audacious enough to make me think there's a chance we'll get one. And I've found six standouts that are better than good (and I'm doing this all by YouTube, so my listening hasn't been all-inclusive). Here they are in no particular order:

Wobbly quirks with pebbles and glass thrown in. Lindsey's not yet got the command that a Taylor Swift or a Xenia has to turn her uncertainties into aesthetic bull's eyes, but the wavers and swallowed words fit this performance fine.

Impressed by how both of them have smoldering depths and high fires.

I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola )

Revenge of the Idol reject )

Quirk Rising )

The Quirk Strikes Back )

Now I wanna be your daub )

h/t [livejournal.com profile] just_keep_on
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When last I embedded Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" I asked for theories regarding the dog in the video, but got no response. I would like to ask again, not just regarding this video, but dogs in general in Korean music vids.

My own commentary in full, regarding the dog in "Abracadabra," was: "The dog? Someone walks a dog down the hallway." What I might have added, had a conversation developed, is, "Cool people who have adventurous sex (or whatever) walk haughty dogs down hallways." But I'd overlooked a crucial piece of the video, the dog playing an actual role in the plot. Right after Jea* and dog traverse hallway for the second time, SPOILER )

Dottie West Image Shift Award for 2009 )

*I suspect it's not really Jea but rather a professional dog walker, since we only view the walker from the neck down.
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Cleaning out the garage.

Top Nonsingles, 2011:

1. DJ Bedbugs "Young Money Cash Minogue"
2. Chucha Santamaria Y Usted "Miami Lakes"
3. LeAnn Rimes "The Bottle Let Me Down"
4. HyunA ft. Zico "Just Follow" (live on Music Bank) [webrip]
5. Dev "Take Her From You"
6. Mr. Collipark ft. Ying Yang Twins & DJ Kool "Let The Beat Hit"

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7. SOOLj ft. Tarae of Smash Bounce "앞 뒤 생각하지 말고"
8. Miranda Lambert "Fastest Girl In Town"
9. Miranda Lambert "Fine Tune"
10. Block B "Halo"
11. LPG "찔레꽃"*
12. Teddybears "Cisum Slived"
13. Kelly Clarkson "Einstein"
14. Clinah "So What If (똑같으면 뭐 어때)"

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15. Kelly Clarkson "Honestly"
16. LPG "내 눈에 안경"
17. Dev "Kiss My Lips"
18. Wonder Girls "Stop!"
19. SNSD "I'm In Love With The Hero"
20. Dev "In My Trunk"
21. SOOLj with DJ Tiz "Because I Am A Man (Inst.)"
22. Dev "Lightspeed"
23. CB1 ft. B-Free "We Roll"
24. Teddybears "Glow In The Dark"
25. Crucial Star "잘 찾아봐"

Freaky Trigger Songs Of 2011 ballot )


So, why doesn't the live 'Just Follow' count as a single? )

What was the question? )

So, you were too chicken to vote for 'Miami Lakes.' What do you have against Miami? )

Oh, I get it. )

What about disco? )

One (Always Trotcore) )
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Posted this over on the Jukebox, where I underrated "Trouble Maker":

It took me a while to get HyunA as a dancer. What I first thought was sloppy now strikes me as having a nice flow. She's no BoA or Min (and here) when it comes to footwork or arm-and-shoulder coordination, but she's getting more at ease.

In "Trouble Maker"'s final two performances (Trouble Maker have wrapped up this round of promotions), HyunA was about 50 degrees warmer than JS.*

120107 )

I don't know if there's much couples dancing in K-pop, there being so few co-ed acts. I'll have to ask my K-pop cohort. I know there's interaction with backup dancers, and in the singer-rapper one-offs, but I doubt there's much Astaire-Rogers lovey-dovey.

*Mat and Sabina's chemistry discussion is here and here, if you missed it.
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Complicated Korean Video Friday resumes today with Ga-In's "Irreversible."

I find the video profound, though the message — what the man's trying to convey to Ga-In — would be a platitude if reduced to a sentence or a maxim. In fact, the guy in the video tried to tell her, but she didn't take in the lesson 'til she'd lived through the consequences of not learning it. The narrative structure makes us travel through it before we learn what's going on, and even then we have to ponder further, or need to get in long YouTube discussions where we try to puzzle it out. So we're coming to realizations rather than being told. Which is why this feels profound.

Which isn't to say that the message isn't also: Ga-In looks fetching when heartbroken; Ga-In looks potentially wanton when sucking a lollipop.

In any event, please watch the video before reading the comments, since the comments will contain SPOILERS. Click CC if you're not seeing the English subtitles. (Not that there's any dialogue for a while.) EDIT: YouTube killed this. Here's the vid without Eng Sub:

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Kara's "Step," Brown Eyed Girls' "Sixth Sense," and Jay Park's "Demon" were all reviewed recently on the Jukebox (here, here, and here). The big "Step" issue for Jukeboxers was how crowded the sound was, some liking it, some not. I'm definitely in the liking-it category, think producers SweeTune make it feel effortless, a full-throttle but easy flow. My only reservation is that the tune isn't up there with SweeTune's best. I don't have much to say about "Demon": a functional Teddy Riley track, an OK melody, needs a snap that it once could have gotten from a Bobby Brown or a Ralph Tresvant, not to mention a Michael Jackson, but isn't getting from Jay Park.

Got home too late to do a Jukebox writeup on "Sixth Sense," but the Jukebox crew did great without me. The song is ambitious and baffling and the reviewers didn't pretend that they had a bead on it. Still don't know what I think of the music. Jer's pan and Iain-Anthony-Doug's praise all make equally good sense. There are so many shifts that the groove doesn't take hold, and no melody soars. But I'm stirred by the massiveness and experimentation. If I give it a chance, maybe it will take hold.

Am just as ambivalent about the video: provocative images thrown in our face, an attempt to connect democracy and sexual liberation, seems facile but that doesn't make the images less arresting. The three oldest Brown Eyed Girls were already in elementary school before South Korea had its first genuinely free election. So riot shields and cults of personality and the state closing in wouldn't pertain only to some countries to the north and to the east.

The teaser single "Hot Shot" that came out a week before this is just as ambitious and swings better for me, big-band Latin ramping into soundtrack funk and the Brown Eyed Girls doing the girls-will-be-boys thing on TV.

Was disappointed that the "Sixth Sense" video contains no murders, suicides, or murder-suicides. Along those lines - along any lines - Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" and BEG Ga-In's "Irreversible" are two of the best music videos I've seen in the last several years. Mysterious but decipherable plots that netizens spend months on YouTube figuring out. [Click CC if you're not getting English subtitles for "Irreversible."] Also, great accordion. Last February I tried not very successfully to start a conversation about "Abracadabra." I'll make the effort for "Irreversible" sometime in the future (tried once on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists, but of course that failed too, an experiment the purpose of which was to confirm that Mat and I are alone in the world).
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Mentioned in my last post that Korean freestyle rapper SOOLj has a leaning towards riffs out of the other freestyle as well, the great '80s postdisco dance music from Miami and NY and Jersey and Philly. Wouldn't be surprised if those riffs were all over Korea these days, though owing to the paucity of my knowledge, I've only found a few others, one of them being KARA's bright and lite "Jumping (점핑)":

("Freestyle lite" would seem to be a contradiction in terms, freestyle having been a music of passionate spirit and thick emotion, but there've actually been several excellent pop tracks in recent America that tone the freestyle down to a pang while still retaining the feeling: Vanessa Hudgens' "Don't Talk" and Brooke Hogan's "About Us.")
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Chipmunks: There are many chipmunks. Either that, or there is one quite active chipmunk whose range cuts across a lot of people's yards on a number of different streets.

Pedestrians: Pedestrians wear dark clothes at night and walk on the right-hand side of narrow two-way roads that have neither sidewalks nor shoulders, the pedestrians therefore being in the road with their backs to oncoming traffic.

Me: I can't identify several of the email addresses in my pocket notebook. I don't remember under what circumstances I wrote them, or why, or what I'm supposed to send to these people. I suppose they could all benefit from receiving links to the video for Ga-In's "Irreversible."
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At Maddie's suggestion, I posted Co-Ed School's "삐리뽐 빼리뽐 (Bbiribbom Bbaeribom)" over on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists as this week's problematic Korean video:

This presents the mentally ill as goofy and silly in kiddie-candy colors, so as potential objects of ridicule, I guess, though also as fun. The positive side would be that, in playing crazy, the Co-Ed Schoolers get to be way goofy and silly and colorful and fun. My question here - and I don't know the answer - is: does stuff like this actually harm anyone? That is, does it help perpetuate attitudes that lead to bullying, to cuts in services, and so forth? I think that most people know that mental illness is actually sad, grim, dangerous. For example, one of my best friends in high school became a paranoid schizophrenic in his early twenties and several years later committed suicide. But that doesn't necessarily make me get all upset at a video in which stereotypically catatonic, obsessive inmates get to dance in bright colors. This video doesn't do right by my friend's agony, but so what?

(And anyway, whether or not I get upset doesn't answer the question of whether anyone gets harmed. How do you answer such a question? How do you know?)

Think the song is a good one and I like the beat, though the singers are weak; typical anonymous Italodisco singers from 1985 could have given this more feeling. Fun is getting in the way of feeling, here. So this rendition is unfair to fun.

Co-Ed School's "Too Late" is a more gripping track and video, though again the singers don't give it what it needs.
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Nothing problematic about this one, at least for me, except to wonder why sullen passion is captivating in this video when I wouldn't find it sexy in real life. Ga-In is gorgeous, of course, with her chiseled, chilled prettiness. Narsha's made up as her twin, and the fierceness between them is stronger than anything they might feel for the guy.

Even though I've watched the thing about twenty times, the ending still holds me: Ga-In with her smirking malevolence, her look saying, "Oh, you're going to kiss me too? Yes. My animal power." And then the focus on Narsha, smooth and blank, way more deadly. I assume Ga-In doesn't realize it's a kiss of death.

Any thoughts regarding:

--The picture on the wall (seems to depict the 18th century, a hat, a parlor? a sitting room? a boudoir?)
--The shiny modern apartment in muted tones (as a place to have sex?)
--The dog? Someone walks a dog down the hallway.

The director, Hwang Su-a, fades her shots in and out at the start, giving us a lot of information but making the scene feel indolent and ominous, despite the fast cuts. Then, as the electrocution device is prepared, the cuts get sharper, and we click into the song.

Rihanna, call your manager.
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As usual, I'm double posting this video here and at [livejournal.com profile] poptimists, on the off-chance that someone there will have something to say. The track is stomping r&b that's intensified rather than compromised by the four-four and the Autotune, and has strong singing. Main issue I raised at poptimists is that, if the point is that fat can be sexy, then the singers should be allowed to really shake their stuff and show some skin.

At the pizza chompin' start, the vid's trying to have its cake etc. and eat it too, uplift the Dolls and make fun of them at the same time. That's what I feel about the name "Piggy Dolls" as well. Maybe it's an attempt to turn the word "piggy" around, seize it and transform it into pride. But I think it's (also) going for snickers. Not that I want to prejudge how audiences will take this. I think it's good these women are out there. The YouTube commenters are trying to position the Piggies as "real" in comparison to other idols, which is problematic in its own way. I guess I think this is too much on the defensive, but we'll see.

Also, though the beat's powerful and the singing's solid, the song itself needs something extra, something to hook us or grab us or mesmerize us. As it is, it's too anonymous.

EDIT: Here's the video with English subtitles (click "CC" for the subtitles):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brbTFVaWxUU (new link 2015, translated differently from below)

Excerpt (assuming these are accurate):

Ain't nobody, follow (do it)
One more
Ain't nobody, crazy now
Be crazy with us
My body? So what?
My face is unique
Check it out onstage
Look at me, we are trend
I'm sexy
Lookin' good
Check it out on stage
Look at me, we are trend
You follow me when I move
Now you (look at me), this is trend
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I just discovered My First Love Story, a Tumblr whose author, Maddie, describes the blog's objectives as: "My ideas about/analyses of K-pop in relation to feminism, the music industry (both North American and Korean), and the portrayal of Asian femininity in media (both North American and Korean). Continued exploration of my diminished and/or burgeoning identity as a Korean/Chinese-Canadian woman who has never visited the country my mother came from over 40 years ago. Relations between K-pop and above exploration. Songs that I'm obsessed with. Pictures of idols that I'm obsessed with."

If you're like me (that's about three of you), you have now instantly bookmarked that blog and are this moment reading it, or are about to. For one thing, a lot about the look of the girl teen idols will make most of us immediately go "PROBLEMATIC PROBLEMATIC" but I, for one, feel way too ignorant of Korea or K-pop to think I have anything knowledgeable to say on the subject (which of course doesn't stop me from trying). So someone who knows and loves the music but doesn't duck the problems has my immediate esteem.

On that subject, I recommend that you go read anhh's heartfelt disaffection: "To be honest, lately I can't stand K-pop. I still consume it on the same way: enjoy the music (music videos, albums, etc.) you can enjoy, avoid the rest (fans, media, the propaganda). To be fair, I don't think that you can separate one from the other. Some of the things I like about K-pop (the belief that a song can be an event and/or can change your life, how this treatment applied on the producer side can make a song you don't care about something that you never want to get out of it, etc.) go hand in hand with the propaganda side of it." And on.

I'd say that the K-pop convos are the best to have occurred on my livejournal over the last year, thanks mostly to anhh and Mat, and since the conversations often will extend for days or weeks on a particular thread I urge you to periodically click my K-pop tag and revisit the threads (some of these being commentary on quarterly or year-end lists, with the K-pop content being rudimentary in my original post and only really developing down in the comments).

Back to Maddie's blog, a theme that's developing is that if you're Asian or Asian American in North America, Asianness will become an issue whether you want it to or not, and any attempt to break the Korean groups here will have to take this into account. I'll add a corollary, though, which is that if part of someone's heritage is black, everything changes, and the Asianness may even go unnoticed.

[EDIT: Add "or Latin American" after black in the previous sentence, or you can make it "black or Latin American or even though you've got no Latin American ancestry you played someone with a Latina name in High School Musical."]
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The year divides into "Blah Blah Blah" and everything else; over the summer I was listening to too much top 40 or was busy discovering old stuff, so not enough here is new. Haven't read much in this neck of the woods about DJ Sbu "Vuvuzela Bafana," Lil Wayne "Drop The World," Colette Carr "Back It Up," Lee Hyori "Swing," Belinda ft. Pitbull "Egoísta," Zinja Hlungwani "N'wagezani My Love," Alejandra Guzmán "¿Por Qué No Estás Aquí?," Sarah Darling "Whenever It Rains," or Stealing Angels "He Better Be Dead," if any of you want to take a shot. Here's "Egoísta":

Singles Three Quarters 2010 )

And here's Sarah Darling:

Country Singles Three-Quarters 2010 )
koganbot: (Default)
Some excellent, excellent commentary on K-pop and J-pop (and a bit of Chinese pop) by Anonymous down in the comment thread to my mid-year lists, along with over a dozen video embeds.* Anyway, I'd like to stir up the local hivemind on what you think is going on in these three videos (and K-pop and J-pop in general, if you have any ideas; you're likely to know more than I, are extremely unlikely to know less, and shouldn't feel you have to know what you're talking about; I don't). First vid is Sandara's "Kiss" (Dara of 2NE1). Seems to be a standard, "I want your kiss, but your respect and commitment too, I'm not easy" story (while the lyrics are more "I want you to come through and kiss me," sorta like "Blah Blah Blah," though not really), so it's a flirtation, I'll-love-you-I'll-love-you-not, but there seems to be a cake-and-eat-it-too relationship to us, the viewers: is Sandara projecting strength or availability, is that a tension or can strength and availability go together? (Rapper, not in vid, is someone called CL, I think, and she's good.) Second vid is E.via's "Shake!" and from Anonymous's comments I gather she's really trying to have her cake and eat it too, pushing the envelope, critiquing and putting herself at a distance from the sex sell by throwing it in our faces, while at the same time, you know, still using the sex to sell. Of course, such strategies and such envelope-pushing occur in the U.S. too, and have the same tension and uneasiness, and get force from the tension and uneasiness, as does this. The Latin riffs help too.

Those two are K-pop, the third is from Japan, AKB48's "Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou," and when I was in my early teens I'd have lapped something like this up, 'cause it's about a suicide, and I lapped up songs about suicide: "Most Peculiar Man" and "Richard Cory" and "Save The Life Of My Child" by Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins' version of Leonard Cohen's "Dress Rehearsal Rag," which isn't a suicide per se but sure seems a suicide threat (Cohen hadn't recorded it yet; in a few years I made my way to his "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy"). "Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou" definitely plays the suicide as some form of rebuke, though it's complicatedly uncertain as to what the rebuke is rebuking: Our attempt to understand it? Adults with their know-it-all explanations? (Were the lyrics written by adults?) Is it a statement of a deeper wrong than just the dead girl's? As I said, as an early teen I lapped this stuff up — and by my mid teens I'd found Dylan and in my late teens I'd found the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, though this song doesn't romanticize self-destruction to the extent that those Americans did. But it does throw it at us as a brute fact.

E.via Shake! )

AKB48 Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou )

Click the k-pop tab for other good discussion we've had here on the subject, mostly not by me.

*Also, Chuck's lists and a link to Josh's are down there too.

K-Pop alert

Jan. 4th, 2010 07:48 am
koganbot: (Default)
The Some Videos thread is developing into an interesting discussion of Korean pop (and a little bit of Japanese pop), featuring a couple of people - [livejournal.com profile] petronia and [livejournal.com profile] askbask - who know more than I do. (Also, we ref back to this thread a little.)

Does anyone recall if conversations about Korean pop ever occurred on ilX?


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