koganbot: (Default)
Stubs of ideas, some of which may turn into future posts:

(1a) A punk votes for a punk (Johnny Rotten says nice things about Trump). Okay, he's not necessarily saying that he did vote for Trump, though from what he said it's a good assumption he did; but anyway, my armchair psychosocial analysis of the Trump win already had been "Punks voted for a punk," my using the word punks in a sorta pre-punk-rock sense, meaning people who compensate for subconsciously feeling weak by scapegoating and bullying and hurting the vulnerable; but such "punks" can include normally nice people too, people who let the punk aspect of themselves do their electoral thinking.



(1b) Only "sorta pre-punk-rock" given that original garage-rock punks such as ? And The Mysterians and the Syndicate Of Sound and the Seeds were indeed punks in the old sense, weak bully-type punks (and sexists as well),† but most of the great punk rockers — I'd start "punk rock" w/ Stones and Dylan, actually, with the caveat that the true punks, the garage rockers, weren't Stones and Dylan but the garage kids who'd dumbed Stones, Dylan, and Yardbirds down into punk, which'd be a fine explanation except that no one limits "punk rock" this way; most critics etc. would also include the Velvet Underground and MC5 and Stooges and Patti Smith and Richard Hell and Rocket From The Tombs and even more would include Ramones and Sex Pistols and the Clash and the Heartbreakers and X-Ray Spex and Black Flag and Nirvana and Hole, generally self-aware nonbully types, and if you're going to do this you've got to go back and count Dylan and the Stones — ...anyway, most of the great punk rockers (as generally defined) were about punk way more than they were punk; nonetheless, being self-aware, they drew the connection between actual inner true punk impulses and the punk rock they were playing, understanding their own weakness and that bullying and scapegoating were in there lurking, sitting dangerously inside. But anyway, of all the great punk rockers, the Sex Pistols, who were maybe the greatest ("They make everyone else sound sick by comparison," said my friend Bill Routt), were the ones who were true nasty punks as much as they were about punk. They were the band that made punk safe for fag-bashers (fortunately only somewhat safe).* None of which explains why Johnny Rotten would shit his brains down the toilet and support Trump (apparently, Johnny can't tell a racist from a hole in the ground). If you want to turn to social affinity and group identification as an explanation, Johnny's loyalty is to real punks, not to punk rock. (Yes, there's no way to come up with a unitary reading of the word "punk" in this paragraph. It'd be a stupider paragraph if you could.) I doubt that many self-identified "punks" — those who embrace the music as part of their social identity — voted for Trump. These people veer left instead. If you go by social category, Trump got many of the rocks and hoods and greasers and grits and burnouts — at least, more than he should have — but few of the punks. (Among whites he got a significant amount of the jocks and middle managers, too, and their psyches are probably as much punk as the hoods' are, but that's not relevant to Johnny Rotten's social identification.) I doubt that many Trump voters had ever bothered to listen to punk rock (not counting the garage hits they heard way back); if they had, the aboutness would've stung them, and they'd have been repelled. Nonetheless, I think I can understand that what makes the Sex Pistols sound true and real to me, the screaming squalling blind attempt to stand against anything acceptable and settled that can get you by, is what makes a lying hollow pathological bully like Trump sound transgressive and therefore real and true and honest and substantial to a lot of his fans.

(1c) Of course Trump doesn't win if he gets only the punks. And my armchair analysis isn't based on any actual research of mine into "the Trump voter." As I said two sentences ago, there's more than one type of Trump voter, and individual voters are multi-faceted in their urges and ideas anyway (so a particular Trump voter can be more than one type). I'm actually doing two questionable things: (i) reading the characteristics of the voter off of the characteristics of what they voted for, rather than actually asking the voters who they are and why they like what they like; (ii) using a psychological model that can apply to an individual person to explain the behavior of a group of people (the punk types who voted for that punk Trump), as if the group were an individual writ large. Obviously I think the analysis kinda sorta works, or I wouldn't have made it. It's a strong hypothesis, punks voted for a punk, strong in my mind anyway, though maybe someone more knowledgeable could beat it down with an alternative. ("Strong" analysis? Seriously? How so? It tells you what most of you already know: (1) that I don't like Trump, (2) that I think many of his voters voted for a lot of what I don't like about him, even if they don't understand the policy implications, and (3) that he's a punk. You already knew that. He's a punk. It's maybe a correct analysis, but not strong, since it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know. Maybe it makes you think harder about punk rock, and what I write below maybe'll help you think harder about social class.)

(1di) Trump got more working-class whites than he was expected to )

(1dii) The terms hoods, greasers, grits, and burnouts as stand-ins for current social identities )

(1diii) The class systems in people's immediate experience are not an exact match for the upper-middle-working class grid )

(1div) They voted against Clinton because she's a student-council type )

(1dv) Kids who bombed out of the classroom still hurt by it )

(1e) Middle class divided )

(1f) Want to hurt people and feel good about hurting them )

(2) The failure of education )

(3a) Duncan Watts criticizes idea of 'representative agent' )

(3b) How would we measure 'punks voted for a punk'? )

(4) The principle of the inferred et cetera )

(5) Top 100 singles of 2016 )

(6) A punk votes for a brat )

(7) Etc. )
koganbot: (Default)
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).
koganbot: (Default)
I worry that my posting this simply adds my own drop of piss to the general pissiness of the Internet. If Areum's in trouble, posting about it won't help her. If she's not in trouble, posting about it won't help her. My excuse is that the Internet's in trouble too (which I find fascinating), and that's what I'm posting about. (And anyway, participation at [livejournal.com profile] koganbot is down to a trickle.)

But in case you're not up on it, ex-T-ara-member Areum has been posting texts and vids on her Instagram that Netizens are characterizing as "strange" and "insane," and there's a recent post of hers that seems to take a swipe at Core Contents Media CEO Kim Kwang Soo and at the remaining members of T-ara.

I really have no idea if there's anything there, and I simply don't trust Netizens and K-pop "news" and entertainment sites to be remotely competent on the subject of whatever it is, if anything, that is happening with Areum. Netizens, Allkpop, etc. have a history of credulously and stupidly repeating each other's narratives and interpretations. Regarding Aream, what's specifically missing are:

(1) Authoritative and full translations of what Areum said.

(2) Any attempt to actually evaluate whether what she said and did are "strange" or "insane" rather than, say, hard to understand due to observers not having a full view of what she's responding to (or maybe not even hard to understand if we block out all the noise and preconceptions regarding the supposed weirdness of what she's saying). Since I don't know Korean myself, and for that matter don't know Korea, I feel at sea. (And I'm so out of it regarding modern technology that I had to look up "Instagram" in Wikipedia). What I'm looking for is someone going in with the sense of "Here's something I don't yet understand, here are some hypotheses, here's what I found potentially disturbing, here are some potential counter-explanations." I mean, my initial thought about someone posting a video in the middle of the night where she's talking to people who aren't there would be that she's acting or playing around; whereas if she were talking to people who weren't there in the middle of the day at a supermarket I'd be immediately leery (but would look to see if she's wearing an earpiece, hence is just on the phone). One bit of supposed evidence of her strangeness was pretty easily refuted by poster jus-sayin: "On Instagram, not sure if it's international but in Korea, her birthday's 4/19, so she posted at 4:20 saying a minute passed since her birthday. It's not that weird. Among fans, some send her tweets at 4:19 to wish her a 'happy birthday(time)' or they call it 'Areum time' so she's not losing it because she wished herself happy birthday." People have been linking her Instagram as if it's self-evident that what we see will appear weird. But is it?

In any event, thanks to David Frazer for alerting me.
koganbot: (Default)
I remember in the second half of 2011, while 2NE1 were being my official, conscious favorite band in the world, T-ara were subliminally becoming my actual favorite band. This didn't really pour forth in my writing, though, until the year changed. 2012 started with Jiyeon, Soyeon, and crew dancing in a circle, and shuffling backwards in unison, adorable and indefatigable at the same time, joyeous but so serious, too, working so hard at catching up with the world's dance: the shuffle, which had been a subcult of individual idiosyncrasy and creativity and had been transformed by LMFAO into an international dance of comic compulsion and affliction, was now, for T-ara, simple workaday everyday solidarity, seven unpretentious young women moving in the latest style.



At the end of the year I was going back to the very same clips and it was like watching T-ara suddenly caught in the headlights, the half-second before they register surprise and fear. You wonder what's really there, Hwayoung flinging her leg sideways in the performance's showpiece, dance after dance after dance, four nights a week, Eunjung dropping out 'cause of a broken kneecap, others missing this or that show owing to schedule conflicts or minor injuries, the dance formations being reworked to accommodate.

But back in late 2011 I was already wondering about T-ara, who are they, why are they so good? 4minute, with engaging and accessible sex-bomb Hyuna at the center and the 2-yoons as vocal powerhouses, and a push-and-pull of appeal and rebellion that is a lot closer than T-ara are to my own sensibility, and who work with some of the same producers and songwriters, reach me in maybe one out of every three songs. Whereas T-ara have no bad songs,* except perhaps a Xmas throwaway here or an OST side project there, and even most of those are good. Even the ballads are good — standard and sentimental and just a day's dip into normal emotion.

I have no explanation, really. I bolded the "T-ara Pure" link below, maybe the most crucial of my attempts to figure it out, though I really just came up with adjectives, and not that many, piggy-backing on my first-quarter roundup. T-ara are kinda normal, I guess — I never made it to watching the variety shows to find hints of who they are as people. There's Hyomin's high pitch and Jiyeon's engaging disengagement, and Soyeon's determination — now a loaded word. Normal singers and dancers, taking what the world throws at them, until the world REALLY began throwing hard, and in response they froze. You can click the T-ara tag for any time T-ara comes up in my posts or in the comments. And here are links to what I consider the more significant of my T-ara and T-ara-related posts on lj, from the beginning to right now. I do, especially, think my Pazz & Jop ballot is a crackerjack bit of writing, my best attempt to sum up the pathology T-ara was subjected to starting mid-year.

Near year's end T-ara issued an apology to their fans, vowing to work harder, "work" being their only solution to the madness, even though it was just that, work, that did nothing for them when the storm hit.

Here goes )

Mother Of God, Is This The End Of T-ara? )

Minami 2

Feb. 10th, 2013 02:07 pm
koganbot: (Default)
Starting this second thread regarding the Minami incident to forestall Livejournal's terrifying collapsed-thread syndrome encroaching on the previous thread (here).

 photo Scarface Secretary Angelo telephone.jpg


My guess is that it'd be hard for any fan to endorse Minami's self-abasement. Even those who support idol "purity" and manage to link it to being sex-free and boyfriend-free will have that overridden by the sense that Minami is a damsel in distress. In fact, those people might especially be the ones who will have their "damsel in distress" buttons bumped, and will be genuinely torn.

The rest of my thoughts are about K-pop, since I know next to nothing about J-pop:

Is the no-dating rule all that pervasive? )

What do you mean by this word SCANDAL? )

Conspiracy theory )

Minami

Feb. 6th, 2013 09:54 pm
koganbot: (Default)
[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 )
koganbot: (Default)
Here's a slight rewrite of my Pazz & Jop comments. I'd whipped the comments out in three hours right at deadline, and I liked the result: power and emotion maybe because of the rush. But owing to the speed, some ambiguities were left in, and some useful details were left out. So I've tweaked the sentences a little, and expanded a few.

Budokan )
People decided to imagine where the rage comes from )

A young woman, a member of a K-pop group, writes a tweet that goes, "The differences in levels of determination ^ ^. Let us all have determination." And several members of the same group take to twitter to concur, or re-tweet, with Jiyeon's concurrence maybe taking on an edge, the phrase, "I applaud you, acting genius," seeming like sarcasm. Hwayoung, the group member whom these tweets are apparently directed at, tweets back, "Sometimes determination alone is not enough." And from here the Internet takes over, seeing this as a set of girls ganging up on another girl. And videos that were obviously faked or even more obviously taken out of context begin to appear, to support this narrative, of a gang of girls bullying another girl: At the K-pop track-and-field events Hwayoung's umbrella is blowing apart in the rain and none of the other girls are helping her. Next image, they're force-feeding her while on a Japanese game show, jamming a rice cake into her mouth. (Amazing that that's taken as bullying; I mean, it's a game show, it's done for laughs, it was broadcast on TV, when it aired thousands saw without seeing any bullying; a few minutes earlier in the very same episode, Jiyeon, supposedly Hwayoung's main antagonist, also had a rice cake shoved into her mouth. Of course, the antis who distributed this as evidence of bullying edited that part out.) And we've got a photo where Hwayoung was on one escalator and the other girls were on another, definitive proof that she was ostracized, shunned.

So, there's a story basically creating itself out of air, but a story that's already in so many people, waiting for an excuse to take to the air.

Make the other members suffer as well )

Singles )

Albums )

Music Bank )
koganbot: (Default)
Frank Kogan's Pazz & Jop Ballot 2012

SINGLES:
1. T-ara "Lovey-Dovey" (Core Contents Media)
2. Orange Caramel "Lipstick" (Pledis Entertainment)
3. Trouble Maker "Trouble Maker" (Cube Entertainment)
4. ChoColat "I Like It" (Paramount)
5. Dev "Take Her From You" (Universal)
6. Dev "In My Trunk" (Universal)
7. Cassie "King Of Hearts" (Bad Boy/Interscope)
8. Wonder Girls "Like This" (JYP Entertainment)
9. Sistar "Alone" (Starship Entertainment)
10. T-ara "Day By Day" (Core Contents Media)

ALBUMS:
1. T-ara Funky Town EP (Core Contents Media) 13 points
2. T-ara Mirage EP (Core Contents Media) 13 points
3. ChoColat I Like It, The First Mini Album EP (Paramount) 12 points
4. Neil Young Americana (Reprise) 10 points
5. Miss $ Miss Us? EP (Brand New Music/Windmill Media) 10 points
6. Serebro Mama Lover (Columbia Europe) 10 points
7. E.via E.viagradation Part 1. (Black & Red) EP (Dline Art Media) 8 points
8. DJ Bedbugs Teenpop Lock And Drop Volume 2 [self-released] 8 points
9. Miss A Touch EP (JYP Entertainment) 8 points
10. Orange Caramel Lipstick (Pledis Entertainment) 8 points

COMMENTS: Interesting the different ways the public reacts to mass shootings, depending on the setting, or on what story just happens to catch hold. Now, after those little kids were killed at Sandy Hook, it's about gun control and mental health. But back in 1999, with the Columbine shootings, the story was about teens bullying teens, the killers having responded to years of torment, the public decided. The psychology of the killers may have been no different from that of the man a few months earlier up in Greeley who'd walked into a disciplinary hearing and let blast rounds of fire, or the guy in L.A. a few months later who shot seventy bullets into a Jewish Community Center. But for Columbine, teens shooting teens, people decided to imagine where the rage comes from – one of the few instances where the public wondered what it felt like to be the shooters. One of the many notes put next to the crosses at Clement Park said to the two dead killers, "If only you could have held on for a couple of more months," the time till graduation.

When the Voice ran my Columbine piece, Doug Simmons forwarded me a bunch of emails they'd gotten in response to the shootings. I recall one of them being truly chilling: "After 50 years of oppression, this is payback." Mostly what I was reading, though, was the pain, everyone a former student, everyone seeming to have lived a perpetual gauntlet. Or that's how I remember them, maybe my own memory telling me stories.

Which I'll admit is an overdramatic intro to something that lacked violence, much less murder. But here goes:

Make the other members suffer as well )
koganbot: (Default)
 photo Jordan Siouxsie bench.jpg


Given that there was an element of chance in the Sex Pistols' becoming famous,* is there a way to quantify that element?

I assume that the answer is no, since I've no idea how to try; though maybe social psychologists with a strong grasp of statistics have been working on such questions.

This question was inspired by Mark's starting his Adam And The Ants stint at One Week, One Band with the question, "Do people talk about Jordan much these days? Once — for a year or three — she mattered quite a lot." And a couple of posts on, he asks, "So what exactly was I suggesting earlier today: no Jordan (—> no SEX —> no Pistols —> no Jubilee —> no Ants) —> no (UK) punk? Or else maybe, less aggressively counterfactually, I'm dubbing her the Bez of punk, maybe?"

Mark's point isn't about probability but that the story of a band is way more populated than most people realize. But to underline both my question and Mark's point, I'd never heard of Jordan or Bez until reading those names in Mark's piece yesterday.** And I'm not as sure as he is that his contention ("no (UK) punk?") is counterfactual.

I assume that if we start from 50 years ago and ask ourselves, "How likely then was it that the world has this particular configuration now?," the answer would be vanishingly small no matter what configuration we end up with (though of course some overall features of the configuration, e.g., "the world would still have an atmosphere, even after a life-ending nuclear war," are quite predictable). So to make my question comprehensible, you could say, "Given Britain the way it was in 1975, and glam and glitter and pub rock and punk rock as they already existed in scenes and subcultures in New York, London, Cleveland, L.A., Ann Arbor, etc., not to mention the pages of Creem and ______ (some British counterpart?),*** there's nonetheless huge unpredictability as to whether the Sex Pistols are going to become famous, or how famous, not to mention, once they are famous, what gets made of what they're doing, and so forth."

Remember, even here, the chance of any particular outcome, including the one we got, is vanishingly small. And my concern isn't to come up with a number, anyway. What I'm really pondering is this: back in the late '80s in my fanzine I asked and gave what I consider a good answer to the question, "Why was there a punk rock explosion in Britain in '76 but not a glitter explosion in the United States in 1973?" But my answer was entirely causal. The Dolls had these attributes and this potential audience; the Sex Pistols had those attributes and that potential audience. I wouldn't fundamentally change that answer now, even though I know that there is an element of unpredictability in what happened with the Dolls and Pistols. What I don't know is whether or how much I should mention the unpredictability, or how to work it into the story. What is there to say about unpredictability, beyond that it exists? I think that, even if the Dolls had become famous, they wouldn't have produced the explosion the Sex Pistols did. And I don't think the Sex Pistols would have become a sudden big deal**** in the U.S., even if they'd been as big here as KISS or Aerosmith. But even if I'm right about that (it's not as if I could run an experiment), I don't think even in retrospect that it was inevitable or obvious that they or anyone like them would have sparked the fire in Britain that they actually did spark.

티아라 파이팅!!! )

The butterfly effect )

A Tale Of Two Patsies )

footnotes )
koganbot: (Default)
If you add in her sounds, her faces number way more than five. This is not strange, to be a variety; but art and commerce and branding often constrain acts to only a few concepts, as does a focus on what you're considered best at; e.g., "I am the underground speed rapper" or "I have switched to an elegant and sexy image." Whereas E.via's chosen to vary and multiply her constraints, rather than constraining herself to a few.*

She's promoted herself with five videos that I know of, each drastically different from the others. What they share is a tendency to go meta, to be about image making and the choices facing her ("image" in the broad sense of "public image," not just "what I look like" or "the way the video shot is framed").

Hey! )

Shake! )

"Pick Up! U!"



A.k.a. Pikachu )

Crazy Fate )

I Know How To Play A Little )

[UPDATE: Turns out she has six video faces; see the comment thread.]
koganbot: (Default)
My attempts at affirmative action in support of vocal cords of the nonyoung, the non-Korean, and the nonfemale haven't netted me much beyond Neil Young, though I'll admit that those attempts were half-hearted. My exploration of the nonmainstream was even less-hearted and, not surprisingly, less successful — except that the never-predictable indie-rapper E.via reverted to a gem of a failed attempt to crack the mainstream (on this list at 26, though never higher than 100 on Gaon).

In the meantime, my respect for the power of human stupidity was reaffirmed by the viciousness and hysteria with which the Internet mob scapegoated T-ara, none of which has changed my limited understanding of the group. Over the last three years, T-ara have made the most consistently good music in earshot. I wonder if now, going forward, cuteness will feel like less of an option for them, and what the result might be. I was listening to Pere Ubu's "Heart Of Darkness" the other day and tried to imagine what it would sound like with Jiyeon singing; had the fantasy that people thirty-seven years ago who were like what I was like thirty-seven years ago might be able to speak across time and say something more helpful to Jiyeon than what the world around her is currently offering.

Parsing problem )

TOP SINGLES Through Third Quarter 2012:
1. T-ara "Lovey-Dovey"
2. Trouble Maker "Trouble Maker"
3. ChoColat "I Like It"
4. Dev "Take Her From You"
5. Dev "In My Trunk"
6. Cassie "King Of Hearts"
7. Wonder Girls "Like This"
8. T-ara "Day By Day"
9. Sistar "Alone"
10. Davichi & T-ara "We Were In Love"

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11 through 75 )

Albums )
koganbot: (Default)
T-ara's "Sexy Love" holds its chart place with its points falling in its second week from 25,414,429 to 23,801,053. That's not a severe drop, given the Gaon List's habit of going from blockbuster to bust rather quickly. E.g., G-Dragon's "그XX," on its week three, falls a whole hunk, from 42,048,638 to 24,038,977. (Above them both we've got soundtrack and talent-show hell.) But "Sexy Love" is far better than "그XX"! (I wish GD had risked exciting his audience with "One Of A Kind.") To put this in ambiguous perspective, Orange Caramel's "Lipstick" has opened with a disappointingly low 20,232,928;* but last July, T-ara's "Day By Day" was up at 39,140,539 for its week two. I was hoping that we'd actually see a rise for "Sexy Love" as people decided, "Hey, it sounds really good, so maybe we don't have to act as if we'll catch cooties from it."

On the albums chart, T-ara's Mirage opens at number 2, one behind F.T. Island and one ahead of Orange Caramel. I presume this is all fan action for Mirage, which is just the previously released Day By Day repackaged with two added tracks, each downloadable for a pittance individually (I presume).

Meanwhile, E.via is up to 100 (rising to 2,760,258 points) in week two of her "Gangnam Style" takeoff, "I Know How To Play A Little." Fwiw, I prefer it to both "Gangnam Style" and "Oppa You're Just My Style."



(The fan vid seems to be what the record company is using to promote it.)

*Disappointing 'cause I like the song and seem unable to grow tired of the "No Speak Americano" beat.
koganbot: (Default)
T-ara's "Sexy Love" enters the Gaon chart at number 4 with 25,414,429 points. In comparison, when "Day By Day" entered in early July, it was number 3 with 41,580,037. That's a significant drop-off in points. Since the songs are different we can't assume their numbers would normally have been equivalent. And songs don't always start with a full week. To my ears, "Day By Day" holds together better as a track, while "Sexy Love" has an opening riff that's as catchy as anything short of "Rebel Rebel" and "96 Tears." I wouldn't say that my ears have ever correlated well with sales and streams in any genre, but nonetheless I think "Sexy Love" would be at least 10,000,000 higher if the world hadn't invented a scandal. (I don't know how the points are calculated, by the way.)

For comparison, "Lovey Dovey" opened at 1 with 37,706,842, "Cry Cry"'s first full week on the chart got them to number 1 with 52,480,756, and "Roly Poly" started at 3 with 47,462,531, jumping to 61,645,160 the following week. (To put this in perspective, though, Super Junior had two singles over the summer that sounded pretty good to me but opened relatively weak and fell fast, all without benefit of a scandal. And Kara's excellent "Pandora" opened last week with a fairly meh 28,246,457.)

We'll see what happens. I'd say the uproar caused "Day By Day" to be only the fifth biggest hit of the summer rather than the third, so not that serious an impact;* on that basis I was willing to believe that the Netizen spasm had been less influential than I'd feared. Now I'm veering half back to pessimism; T-ara have definitely taken a substantial hit. But they're still big. This is nothing like what was done to the Dixie Chicks, where "Landslide" was high on the country charts one week, then the next — boom! — the group's dead in that market.

*Of course, stuff like Eunjung losing endorsements and being kicked off an acting gig is another type of impact.
koganbot: (Default)
 photo Jiyeon holding perfume or something.jpg


I dremt there are Websites devoted to pictures of cats who look like members of T-ara.* Maybe even an animated TV show where T-ara (and all other people) are cats. I'm donating items to Goodwill, and I see, in a bag next to mine, decorative eggs that are painted as T-ara cats. As my friend Mary is driving me back, I proudly tell her, "This is where I got the idea." I'm chosen to direct the movie. It is originally to be lighthearted, but I say to myself, "I'm gonna do this right." In the movie, things are going well in Catworld, T-ara performing, sometimes as a band, playing all the instruments themselves. Then an evil sorceress transforms them into new creatures: human beings. There are worries that I'm going overbudget. We run a saturation ad campaign, in the U.S. as well as Korea, playing one clip over and over:

Jiyeon: When I move my arms, they seem as if they're not my arms but someone else's. When I move my legs, they seem as if they're not my legs but someone else's.

Psychiatrist: How long have you felt this way?

Jiyeon: Always.


Strangely, this dream makes almost no reference to the recent controversy, though there is the flicker of a thought that we have to mention it in the movie: I make the quick decision to write it briefly into an early cat scene, but not as a major event.

History of T-ara as cats )
koganbot: (Default)
Associated Press: SKorean court ends law requiring real names online

Paragraph 2:

The online naming law took effect in 2007 under a bipartisan push to curb libeling, the spread of false rumors and abusive comments in the cyber space. South Korea saw a flurry of celebrity suicides allegedly motivated by malicious online comments, which mobilized the move to control the Internet space.
Anybody know anything about these? This was a couple of years before I was paying any attention to South Korean celebrities, suicidal or not.
koganbot: (Default)
Of the top fifty songs on last Thursday's Billboard K-pop chart, seven of them have been charting for ten weeks or longer. Here they are, in ascending number of weeks:

Busker Busker "It's Hard To Face You" 10 weeks
Verbal Jint "Good Morning" 10 weeks
Juniel "Illa Illa" 10 weeks
Wonder Girls "Like This" 11 weeks
Big Bang "Monster" 11 weeks
Kim Tae Woo "High High" 12 weeks
Shinyoo "Hands Of The Clock" 51 weeks

51 weeks doesn't mean that "Hands Of The Clock" began its run 51 weeks ago. It just means that the Billboard K-pop chart is only 51 weeks old, and that's when they started counting. The track could be years old, for all I know. Maybe decades old. The singer looks a couple of decades younger than I am, but I'm more youthful at heart. Here's a live version that was uploaded to YouTube in December 2009:

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It's currently at 32, the highest it's been in the Billboard K-pop era.*

We've talked about it before. Me: "In the olden days, this would have been my stereotype of what Asian pop sounds like." Also, "Presumably, it's old people who listen to this. I'm an old person, and I like it." (Probably like it somewhere between 4 and 6 points, but let's not quibble.) [livejournal.com profile] arbitrary_greay: "Holy cow that sounds like some generic Chinese karaoke staple. I can hear the color change scrolling through the karaoke captions on a flickering blue screen." [livejournal.com profile] davidfrazer: "You might enjoy Bret's visit to the noraebang from Flight of the Conchords."

T-ara holding nearly steady )

My opinion of Ferguson-Krugman dustup substantially final, despite my investigation being desultory )
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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


This isn't my analysis of what I think happened. I'm never going to know what happened. But I'm fantasizing what I'd have expected on July 25th if I'd logged on and seen the T-ara tweets, and a soothsaying friend had told me, "This is about to erupt into a scandal; can you predict what it'll be?" I'd have guessed, "The scandal will be idol singers pushing each other or being pushed beyond their endurance." This is partly because it fits the tweets, but also because the story of being pushed too hard was already abroad on the Net, in relation to all of K-pop but particularly to T-ara. When I first heard their rendition of "Like An Indian Doll," it was embedded in a Seoulbeats piece that said, "The T-ara members are particularly notorious for taking falls and fainting from exhaustion as their killer schedules catch up with them," and that attributed Jiyeon's lifeless demeanor in that performance to her exhausting schedule. When I first read* about Eunjung slipping and breaking her kneecap last January, the author speculated that this wouldn't have happened had Eunjung not been overworked. And I'd already done a horrified post myself when I'd run across a video interview with Qri (captioned "Tiara cutie and pretty") where she'd said, "On average, I sleep for 2 hours," and then laughed. I'm not necessarily endorsing the Seoulbeat interpretation (as a matter of fact, I fooled around with differing analyses for why Jiyeon might present herself like that), much less saying it's the only way to interpret the tweets: I don't know if T-ara are overworked or not, actually, or if Hwayoung was trying to fend off excessive work. But I think you have to notice the way the tweets incorporate the language of the Korean work ethic. Here are the tweets. I'm using the allkpop translation for Hyomin, Jiyeon, Eunjung, and Hwayoung, with an alternate translation by oniontaker** in brackets; I only had the oniontaker translation for Boram and Soyeon. Obviously, oniontaker is translating as "dedication" what allkpop translated as "determination"; I've also seen it as "will":

Hyomin: "The differences in levels of determination^^, Let us all have more determination. Fighting!!!" ["It's a difference between levels of dedication ^^ Let's all be dedicated and hwaiting!!!!!!"] [Me: According to Wikip, "fighting" (파이팅) and "hwaiting" (화이팅) are basically the same word, based on the English word "fighting"; I've gathered over the last couple of weeks that it's used to cheer people on, T-ara fans posting the meme "T-ara fighting/Hwayoung hwaiting" all over the Net.]***

More tweets )
I'm slowly working my way through God Of Study on Hulu. I watched episode four a couple of nights ago, which included teachers forbidding a student to go to the bathroom until he'd finished a particularly difficult math problem, and forcing another student to sit out in the cold in the wee hours of the morning doing one set of math problems after another until he'd scored 100. This was presented as the acts of extraordinarily caring and dedicated teachers doing everything they could to help students who would be flushed down the toilet without them.

Scraggly, swarming mob in disaffected dress )
Hwayoung hwaiting )

Footnotes )
koganbot: (Default)
T-ara's "Day By Day" fell from 5 to 10 on the new Gaon Chart. Not nearly the dropoff I was expecting. It is significant, though. A drop from 5 to 10 is fairly normal on K-pop charts, the top following a blockbuster pattern, like movies: open strong, rapid falloff. But since its release, "Day By Day" has been tracking almost even with 2NE1's "I Love You" and Sistar's "Loving U,"* so I think in the normal course, without the brouhaha, it'd be hanging on with them, somewhere between 4 and 7.



Davichi's "Do Men Cry?" opened at number 2, so any animus towards T-ara isn't being directed at this Core Contents Media labelmate.

Having no basis for an informed analysis, I'll give you speculation: I assume T-ara will hold onto a lot of their strong fans, even the many who think Hwayoung got a raw deal; but the casual fan — someone who likes 'em but doesn't favor them or think about them much, just someone who likes this song or that, streams the "Day By Day" video and then streams Psy's "Gangnam Style" — is likely to be affected by the general feeling that there's a "bullying scandal," simply sees the phrase and isn't going to spend time examining the stories with a critical eye and won't discover that so far the evidence for bullying has either been fabricated or has been obviously, even at first glance, taken out of context. (This not counting the tweets, which can be interpreted a number of ways.) And then there's the mob that's busy being upset by T-ara no matter what, but more and more they're running into people upset at them.

Report of life shortage online )

Partially making up for listeners T-ara have lost, are rubberneckers who are listening out of curiosity.

So I think "Day By Day" loses more next week, but we'll see.

Varieties of seasonal listening )
koganbot: (Default)
I don't have enough information to have an opinion* (which doesn't mean I don't), but I'm fascinated by how quickly public opinion — at least as evidenced by the outpouring of complaints on comment threads — has coalesced around a story that people can't possibly know is true, at least not yet. E.g.,

WTF? did not see this coming! i mean they are all bitches but srsly make the other members suffer as well for bullying her and shit but in return they make the victim leave the group!

and BULLSHIT u prob asked ur staff to say all this shit u fucken piece of ass, "In deference to the complaints by T-ara's staff of 19 people (5 stylists, 7 hair & makeup, 5 on-site managers, 2 team managers), Hwayoung’s contract as an artist will be voided effective immediately with no conditions."
And

I call bullshit!!! They kicked her out because she wasn't the popular one and it's a mean girls thing the other members got bad attitudes...It's all bullshit...but I wish her the best
And

I don't believe a darn thing that ridiculous CEO says. Complaints from the staff to cover up the bullying by the members? Seriously? And why did he feel the need to list who the staff members were and how many of them were part of the 19 that supposedly complained against Hwayoung? It's unnecessary information.
And

we apologize in saying that we could not forsake the arguments of the staff members. OH REALLY???!!... I didnt know staffs are more powerful then a CEO. CCM Please shut down your fucking company with all your lies and all your betraying all your artists.
And

lol apparently its got to do with the staff. huh, thats funny, cause that is a obvious lie right there.
And

Just read a article on CNN this week. South Korea #1 in bully related death (suicide). Read Seung-Min's story on CNN. The CEO should of been the adult in this situation. Ever heard of communication. As IDOLS they have so much influence. Bullying starts from the top (CEO) and works down (singers). It's all about $$$ for the CEO. All the K-pop groups are puppets!! They should all get together and fight the # issue in their country. BULLYING!!
Hwayoung was just kicked out of T-ara. But the narrative had coalesced several days earlier: long-time members Jiyeon, Hyomin, and Eunjung had tweeted their disappointment about another member, saying she needed to show "determination." This was interpreted by Netizens as being aimed at Hwayoung, who, with a hurt leg, had failed to perform at one of the group's TV gigs, and at a concert had only partially participated. Hyomin: "The differences in levels of determination^^, Let us all have more determination. Fighting!!!" Jiyeon: "The differences in levels of determination ^^, Always be humble ^^ and sensible ^^ I applaud you, acting genius ^^" Eunjung: "A position can make or break a person, but determination can make a person too. Sigh, it's unfortunate. You have to know to take care of the people around you." (See article at allkpop. I don't vouch for these translations. Or the article.)

This doesn't seem so outrageous to me, but on the 'Net it was taken to be three hotshot, bitchy, jealous members of the group bullying the young one.** And maybe people who follow these things more closely than I do have good reason to buy into this narrative, and to consider Jiyeon a bitch. Or maybe such people are just making things up. (Hwayoung didn't join T-ara until late 2010. There does seem to have been a diminution of Eunjung's mic time since then. Eunjung has, imo, the best voice in the group. She sings only a few lines in "Day By Day," just the refrain, but in those few lines she brings the crucial emotion of the song.)

Counter narrative )



[This vid isn't on YouTube anymore, and in case Dailymotion kills it at some point, here's a link to this performance on mp3.zing. UPDATE: That's dead too; here's one on Vimeo, another on Youku]

Eunjung and Hyomin had to memorize it really fast )

UPDATE (CORRECTIONS): Two mistakes in this write-up: (i) There seems to have actually been four members of T-ara who initially tweeted their disappointment: Hyomin, Jiyeon, Eunjung, and Soyeon. I'd said there were three. The allkpop article (which was translated and adapted from something called NewsPlus) only gives Hyomin's, Jiyeon's, and Eunjung's tweets, but shows a Webshot of a fourth by Soyeon, in Korean (the NewsPlus article is identical in this respect). Wikip adds Boram to the list, but the citation is to the allkpop article, which leaves her out. UPDATING THE UPDATE: Boram did tweet, but her tweet and Soyeon's weren't much more than general exhortations. (ii) The tweets came on Wednesday July 25, after the Budokan concert, but two days before the Music Bank show where Hwayoung was a last-second scratch. I'd initially thought they'd come after Music Bank. (Supposedly, with only a couple of others bands in the queue ahead of them at Music Bank, Hwayoung refused to or felt she couldn't perform. But I don't know enough to say that either of those are accurate interpretations of what happened. I don't think anyone who wasn't there knows. Maybe even the people who were there, including the principals, don't know.)
koganbot: (Default)
Crackerjack Taylor Swift thread over on the Jukebox, with pretty much everybody finding at least one thing to disagree with in what anyone else says, but all having a good congenial time of it. The song under review is "Back To December," but the thread goes for the album as a whole, "Mean" getting a good work-up from all angles. E.g., Mat and Theon:

Mat, on November 3rd, 2010 at 5:43 pm Said:
Taylor stacking 'mean' and 'pathetic' and 'liar' like that is her being willfully childish, as a joke, but also suggesting this phantom menace's level of sophistication. He was a brutish jerk, so why shouldn't she just lash out at him in the crassest, simplest way, now that she can, now that she's in a big old city (skyscraper) and he's down in the bar, drunk and bitter. I think it's a funny line.

theon, on November 3rd, 2010 at 6:13 pm Said:
the "liar/pathetic/alone in life" bit in "mean" is the most overwhelming part, guys. all the stuff about how the narrator's gonna escape and be happy is in the future tense and thus implicitly the subjunctive. so the song is being written from a trapped place, but she's being bouncy and certain about her escape, the way you do when you're cheering yourself up; the word "mean" is both a juvenile joke-word and this big-deal cosmic judgement (mean of spirit, etc.). then at the end when she starts shouting and gets a little wobbly on "a LIAR! and PATHETIC!" — those are also juvenile words, because this is the only point in the song where the narrator loses her composure. then she repeats "mean" four times with an intensifying drumbeat behind her, and it's like something's gonna break. then she gets ahold of herself and returns to the peppy fantasy chorus. but that wobble of desperation is still part of the song.

Also, good convo at the Jukebox on Carrie Underwood's "Mama's Song."

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