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David Frazer said this in my lj comments; it deserves its own post.

Chocolat's contracts expired in February, and Melanie has given an interview to Kpopalypse.

To summarise, they never earned any money, the CEO was useless, the staff constantly pressured them to work harder and lose weight, and Melanie became depressed and began self-harming. And after thinking up the biracial gimmick the CEO decided that Melanie was "too American" and needed to look and behave like a proper Korean girl.
The interview does speak for itself. I'll add here that Melanie's whomp of a wail of "I want it all, all or nothing" in "I Like It" — a song she felt nothing for — showed right off that she had major talent. Even before that, in her narration of the first ChoColat publicity clip she was easily alive and playful in front of the camera. So, was management entirely obtuse, given that they picked Melanie to narrate right at the get-go, and had her loud and highlighted on the second single? Also, management chose good songs every time (i.e., songs I like), which is extraordinarily rare, and for all we know the girls themselves would have chosen worse.

So, we don't know management's own view of this, or the other girls': Still, if you're choosing performers because they're different, it seems lunkheaded to then try and squash down the differences. And if your training technique is psychologically backfiring on one of your talented singers, you should try to change the technique, right? (Yes, I realize this isn't so easy or even always possible when there's more than one performer involved, with each potentially responding differently to the coaching but all more or less needing to be given the same rules. Still...)

Also — I don't know this and obviously haven't done the research — but I had the impression back in 2011 that Korea was developing a body of case law that said that if a youngster signs a 7-year contract at age 12 or 15 or something and she subsequently sues to get out of the contract, the courts will back her and invalidate the contract. Of course, having a right to sue doesn't make actually doing so emotionally or financially feasible, or protect her from getting blackballed for it.
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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. )
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In an egregious breach of self-discipline, I posted on an Ann Powers facebook thread* whose subject was "rockism." Given that the thread was mainly stupidity and floundering, and it didn't jostle anything loose in my own thinking, I fear that there was little useful I achieved. My justification, if there is one, is that the stupidity I refer to is relative, and I genuinely believe that if someone somewhere takes in and masters my ideas regarding the "authenticity" thing it would save her several years of wheel-spinning.

Antirockists have never had the slightest actual interest in the people they call "rockists" or in the phenomena they call "rockism." So the conversation has been about defeating phantom enemies rather than about understanding the world.** This makes antirockists frustrating but it doesn't always make them boring, since their beating up on "rockism" is an attempt to use a crowbar or pole vault to get out from under something — even if they won't figure out what it is in themselves and their world they're trying to surmount.

This is what I wrote. I do urge you to click the two Rules Of The Game columns I link down at the bottom of my third comment. Might help your wheelbarrow gain traction.

Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changed )
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There's still an island of boxes in the middle of my living room, so this post is another little placeholder until I create time for a "good" one.

ImageShack took my picture links hostage and threatened to kill 'em all unless I paid money. I said, "Go ahead, commit murder," so presumably most photos on my lj and elsewhere are kaput. (E.g., this one here, Emil Jannings in The Last Command.) Maybe I'll go through and repost a few via Photobucket or some other nonhomicidal enterprise.

 photo The Last Command Emil Jannings small.jpg

New digs

Mar. 16th, 2014 06:59 am
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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.)
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If you were to ask me do I think T-ara are sexy or, instead, do I think they're cute, you've asked me an insane question, since their cuteness makes them sexy and their sexiness makes them cute. Not that there's a complete overlap: cuteness is only a part of their repertoire of sexiness and sexiness is only part of their repertoire of cuteness. And they generally avoid cutesiness, which is a turnoff. But what I'm noticing is that "cute vs. sexy" is something of a meme in K-pop, even though as an actual dichotomy it hardly seems usable. But there is even an officially designated "sexy version" and an officially designated "cute version" of T-ara's "Bo Peep Bo Peep" vid. Recognizing that "cute" and "sexy" are being used as generic, symbolic terms — so not encompassing something like "Minzy has a cute ass," where "cute" means "she's really hot"; but more like how a nightgown symbolizes sexiness while a business suit symbolizes seriousness even though someone can look really sexy in business clothes and look unsexy in a nightgown (not sure what a "cute" costume would be: a bunny suit comes to mind, but that's problematic) — there are nonetheless performers like Sunny (of SNSD) and HyunA who are also adept at interweaving the symbols of sexiness and cuteness (and the word "interweaving" is misleading in that it still implies too much of a difference), not to mention seriousness and the business suit when those performers are so inclined.

That's how far I've gotten stating the issue )

Sad but sexy )

One thing I noticed, looking at that and the other GLAM vids, is that view totals are edging up and there are all these recent comments to the effect that "Kim Nana brought me here." So who's Kim Nana? Turns out she's a character in the TV miniseries Monstar, the actress portraying her being GLAM's own Dahee. And talk about SAD AND SEXY! She's absolutely smoldering — despair, anger, and heat all at once. And in the TV show, straight, as far as I can tell. I'll confess I haven't had time to actually watch an episode, and it looks like I'm not going to; frankly, from the clips I've seen it doesn't seem very good ("Monstar depicts the lives of ordinary teens who are injured psychologically and heal themselves through the power of music"). And while the ballads are passable, the bravura pop-rock showpieces are utterly tedious: big blundering TV-contest ideas of what impressive, powerful song presentation is supposed to be. Yet there's Nana as a character, introduced to us first as the dangerous, dark brooding sexy girl from the wrong side of the tracks — don't mess with her — whose heart, we're to learn soon enough, is secretly breaking. That's pretty much all I've gotten from quick-skimming the clips; I can guess how everything plays out but I don't know, or what surprises I missed, or what I got wrong. Nonetheless, there's Kim Nana. I can't tell you, not having watched more than scattered scenes, how good Dahee is as an actress. It may not matter. All she has to do is to look out at us through her long hair and to never smile. If I'm fourteen years old I know who I'm in love with.

 photo Dahee as Kim Nana brooding.jpg

Censors unrepresentative mindset )
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As you see, Crayon Pop have my top song. But for the long run I'd lay my bets on ChoColat. Crayon Pop have to rely on being insanely catchy every time out, while ChoColat only need reasonably good tunesmanship and dramatic timing and Melanie's passionate wail — all of which ChoColat can rely on.

1. Crayon Pop "Bar Bar Bar"
2. Gaeko & Choiza & Simon D & Primary "난리good!!! (AIR)"
3. GLAM "I Like That"
4. Baauer "Harlem Shake"
5. MBLAQ "Smoky Girl."

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6. will.i.am ft. Britney Spears "Scream & Shout"
7. Evol "Get Up"
8. Cassie ft. Rick Ross "Numb"
9. Tiny-G "Minimanimo"
10. ChoColat "Black Tinkerbell"
11 through 50 )

Continuing the ChoColat/Crayon Pop theme )

Baauer, Gaeko, GLAM, Lim Kim, T-ara )
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Made a YouTube playlist of my favorite tracks from K-pop's lower commercial tiers.

In ascending order. As you can see, I like both it and that:

Leader'S "Hope" (2011). The song is called "Hope" but the sound is heartache 24/7. I left NYC several years before Hot 97 or whatever it was came in with a Latin freestyle format, but I can imagine this humid emotion emanating daily from car radios and bodegas on my block (I lived on the northern end of Mott Street, which was nominally still part of Little Italy, but the Italians had mostly moved to more well-to-do neighborhoods, being replaced by immigrants from the Dominican Republic).

D-Unit ft. Vasco "Stay Alive" (2013). Produced by Zico of Block B, this is a lot more natural than his own group ever was at creating a hip-hop idol sound, emphatic rapping with a backdrop that's half dreamy and half disorienting.

Chi Chi "Sexy Doll" (2012). A come-on that sounds at least as ominous as it is salacious.

Z.Hera "Peacock" (2013). Haven't yet discovered who wrote this, but it's someone with a far better understanding than I of Chopin or whomever, the track moving along towards inevitable bliss, while the singer uses the strain in her voice to suggest struggle and uneasiness. She just debuted, and I'm hoping for great things.

Clinah "So What If" (2011). Fractured power pop. It feels Japanese.

Tiny G "Minimanimo" (2013). I wonder if Bo Diddley had the least inkling in 1955 that he was setting the beat not just for buckets 'n' guts, but for sprites and nymphs.

Miss $ "Physical Or Emotional" (2012). Back to the dark Bodega wail. Miss $ had been a so-what r&b act for several years until they suddenly blossomed into passion.

Evol "Get Up" (2013). Get ur twisty little freak on, and take it to the disco.

GLAM "I Like That" (2013). Samples New York City sorrow, then pushes towards a joy most complicated.

Flashe "Drop It" (2012). A lot like "Bo Peep Bo Peep" in the way it teases and nags you.

New.F.O "Bounce" (2011). While the video apes 2NE1-style imperiousness, the band bubbles and bounces.

ChoColat "I Like It" (2011). Young Melanie wants it all, with a massive voice of promise and pain.

Crayon Pop "Bar Bar Bar" (2013). Perhaps they're lucky not to be stars. They get to spray everyone in their audience with water pistols.

E.via (now calling herself Tymee) "Pick Up! U!" (2010). The queen of the lower reaches, she can be anything from a severe art bitch to the cutest and quickest of the wild spirits. Here she gives us fractured power pop, fractured dance pop, fractured Poképop.

Fat Cat "My Love Bad Boy" (2011). Putatively cute and catchy, our heroine breaks her voice into scrapes, sparks, and splatters, and the sort of hooks that rip flesh.

Honorable mentions: Gangkiz "Honey Honey," A-Jax "Hot Game," MYNAME "Just That Little Thing," Blady "Spark Spark," Delight "Mega Yak," X-Cross "Crazy."

Steerage )

I crossposted this on ILM's K-pop 2013.
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New ChoColat single, "Black Tinkerbell," similar to their previous three in that there's a touch of mid-Eastern-by-way-of-Spain-and-Africa quasi-freestyle mournfulness,* and all four singers get time in the spotlight. Song provides no opportunity for an aching Melanie** wail à la the "I want it all, all or nothing" in "I Like It." But she gives us a nice emotive brushstroke at the end of the middle eight. And the other three are catching up to her in sounding forceful and assured. Track doesn't earworm me the way "One More Day" and "I Like It" did, though maybe it's going more for a steady mood than for hooks.

What I mean by "freestyle" is more than one thing (see tag). ChoColat lean towards the passionate NY style, rather than the poppier Miami. And I wish the writers and arrangers for ChoColat would jump into the style whole hog, clear up space for vocal passion and hop up the beats and see what happens, e.g. (1989):

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*Provided by songwriters from Britain, Norway, and America, respectively, on singles 1 through 3. I don't know yet who wrote "Black Tinkerbell." [UPDATE: But David Frazer does. It's Kim Eui Sung of the band Bring The Noiz, and this is his/her first commercial song, or idol song, or something.]

**Me being prescient sixteen months ago:

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Fancam of forthcoming track from Crayon Pop, "Bar Bar Bar." CRAYON POP DO NOT DISAPPOINT. I had to get out of my chair: I was laughing so hard I was afraid I'd hurt myself. I think those are toboggan helmets. Anyway, I can't wait on this. (H/t to David Frazer, as usual, for all things Crayon Pop.)

Subtract the visuals and there's still a great little song, a girl chant that's an earworm with harmonies (or harmonic something, anyway; I would welcome a musical analysis).
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Z.Hera "Peacock": Dance-pop from a writer who seems to have studied études and preludes, featuring a rookie singer who puts strain in her upper register in a way that's heart-tuggingly passionate, like the best of the '80s. She's got something, as does whoever wrote and produced the song, even if it's getting nowhere on the charts.

It would help if the visual concept were more than just "I'm young, I'm fresh, and I dance pretty well." In the video she's a caged bird who escapes her garret into a land of balloons and Swiss roofs and soap bubbles. The lyrics (English version here) are about never giving up in the face of adversity or a love object's indifference ("Nobody close, I'm feeling lonely, bitter cold/Only thought it makes me stronger"). Then she steps through her wardrobe into a tinseltown freeze, but she's feeling fire, and her energy never flags.

Live on Mcountdown )

Baek Ji Young "떠올라": Baek Ji Young has been doing well recently with ballads of dripping emotion, no droplet or gusher held back, one of the few ballad singers to reach me consistently. But she has an easy touch on dance tracks, into which she inserts pangs and power, also reaching me.

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Back catalog )

BoA: BoA is an astonishingly fluid dancer, my favorite in the world. In comparison, her voice often seems locked-in. But her nasal soundpack is just right for the OST ballad "Between Heaven And Hell": restraint, clear line on the melody, dignified little quavers.

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[livejournal.com profile] davidfrazer informs me that my hero Tymee (formerly E.via), who'd split rancorously with Dline Art Media, has signed with ASSA Communication, an agency/label apparently founded by rapper Outsider. So I've been checking Outsider; he raps fast, though still too much in the overanguished super-sincere mode that drags down too much Korean hip-hop. Here's one that's not bad, the anguish lowered to medium:

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In addition, I found this track from Trabler.* Seems like an interesting rap-pop power ballad, even if it too veers towards so-what anguish:

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David also passes along the happy news that ChoColat are preparing new material, and that Crayon Pop haven't stopped kicking.

Chocolat Melanie's hair is pink.

*Was searching Trabler because they were guests on "Lie To Me," E.via's boring swan song on Dline.
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Japanese freestyle — is there a lot of it? I wouldn't know. Just glad that the style, which is pretty much gone from U.S. airwaves, is still strong in Asia.

(h/t [livejournal.com profile] arbitrary_greay, of course)

Tomato n' Pine FAB ("Free As A Bird")
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The rhythm is simply a hopped-up electrobeat, not freestyle's fast twists and breakneck turns, but the melody, at least in the verse, could have come out of NYC or Union City, 1987. Like this:

Maribell "Roses Are Red"
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Also, in the midst of this week's Brave Brothers discussion I discovered a freestyle riff right smack center in the debut days of After School, 2009:

After School "Play Girlz"
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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 )
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[For some reason, when I was adding tags, livejournal deleted this entire entry, along with its comments. So I'm reposting. It originally went up January 1st, 2012, 23:54.]

1. T-ara "Lovey-Dovey"
2. Orange Caramel "Lipstick"
3. Trouble Maker "Trouble Maker"

Shinsadong Tiger w/ bodyguard. Co-producer and co-writer of #1, #3, #13, #37

4. ChoColat "I Like It"
5. Dev "Take Her From You"
6. Dev "In My Trunk"
7. Cassie "King Of Hearts"
8. Wonder Girls "Like This"
9. Sistar "Alone"
10. T-ara "Day By Day"
11. Davichi & T-ara "We Were In Love"
12. 2NE1 "Scream." Over at the Singles Jukebox, commenter My cheap on accurately pegs this as "let’s sing about screaming but not scream." But then, 2NE1 aren't the ones to take terror and act afraid of it, are they (as opposed to using it to add frisson to their party)?

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13. 4minute "Volume Up"
14. Flashe "Drop It"
15. After School "Rambling Girls"
16. Taylor Swift "Red"
17. ChoColat ft. Sung Hyo Ram "One More Day" (also called "Same Thing To Her")
18. Orange Caramel "My Sweet Devil"
19. Miss A "Touch"
20. Yoon Jong Shin ft. Kim Wan Sun "I Love You All Days"
Ana Victoria through Nicki Minaj )
Paulina Rubio through Charles Esten & Hayden Panettiere )
Los Mesoneros through After School )
Clazzi through A-Jax )
Jhene Aiko through Ciara )
Knife Party through Cloud Nothings )
Gangkiz through Dawn Richard )
Tony & Smash through Bae Geon-seok )

To reemphasize the demographic points I've been hammering at you during all of my quarter-year writeups: There's only one male singer in my Top 10, the male half of Trouble Maker — the half that moves half-paralyzed in terror as a warm, endearingly emotionally sweet and massively sexy fun girl wraps her arms around him. This is fitting for a time in which male vocalists don't seem to know WTF they should do. The next XY chromosome doesn't show up till a negligible guest shot on ChoColat's "One More Day" down at 17. First vocalist over forty is Kim Wan Sun, the guest singer on "I Love You All Days," number 20. First male voice over forty is Jay-Z's in "Clique," track 27.

Cuteness more authoritative than strength is? )

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Mark, or someone, why is the harmonic minor scale called the harmonic minor scale? How is it any more harmonic than the natural minor scale? Wikip:

"One More Day" is composed in the key of A harmonic minor, meaning though in A minor, it has a G#, an accidental, at the end of the chorus and the end of the second verse. The vocals span around an octave and a half, from C4 to E5. It is written in verse-chorus form, with a bridge section in a rap-form, featuring Sung Hyo Ram from XCROSS as the guest rapper, before the last repeated chorus.

Wikip explains "harmonic" in the name like this:

The scale is so named because it is a common foundation for harmonies (chords) used in a minor key. For example, in the key of A minor, the V chord (the triad built on the note E) is normally a major triad that includes the raised seventh degree of the scale: G♯, as opposed to the unraised G♮ which would make a minor triad.
What confuses me about this explanation is that it assumes that, if your i is a minor, then V is somehow more "harmonic" than v is. (That is, that the major chord that's a fifth above the chord that establishes the key is, when the key is minor, more "harmonic" than the minor chord that's the fifth above the original chord.) Now I get that Wikip is saying that the major V is more "normal" or "common" than the minor v. (Where? Among whom?) Is that because it's — somehow — more harmonically related? Is it because of that "leading-tone" business Wikip mentions?

Here's a natural (rather than harmonic) minor for the v, which sounds fine to me:

Sistar Zukie )

Yes, I'm never likely to master music theory. Other stuff is taking my time.

Another reason for this post is that you — especially you who are named "Mark" — may enjoy the ChoColat track for how its harpsichord and melody recall the classic She'kspere/Kandi days of TLC, Destiny's Child, and Pink. Maybe you, more than I, will be able to explain what the melody has in common with those melodies of yore (if I'm right that it does).
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In ChoColat's "I Like It," 14-year-old Melanie lets loose with a wail of "I want it all, all or nothing," that pierces steel, leaps rooftops, and calls across oceans. Back in their introduction vid last July she was at ease and charming in a normal-girl bubbly way. Seems like a winning combination: camera-ready everyday warmth and a voice that can launch rivers and wring us dry.

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

Race )

*Also called "One More Day."
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An article claimed* that an online community board ran a "Ranking of girl group idols with the best vocal talent" (phrase in quotes in the article), the board claiming (but this not in quotes) that "three professional experts in the music field personally participated."**

Miffed at being excluded, I compiled my own top five:

1. CL
2. Hyomin
3. Melanie
4. Whoever I decide is the most crucial vocalist in 4minute, once I figure out who is who
5. Same for LPG

Expert status justified; yawp extolled )

Other people think they have ideas too )

footnotes )
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Wow! I'd never heard this before! Writer Kenzie* and producers Bloodshy & Avant take a dramatic "Reach Out I'll Be There"–type melody, throw it into waltz time, and make it a funny, bumpy promenade. [EDIT: I meant to say they throw it into SWING time. My brain went herky-jerky there for a second. In any event, this most certainly isn't a waltz; it's 4/4, but each of those beats then subdivides further into triplets.]

The dance is terrific too, each of SNSD coming in from the side or down the aisle and then out onto the runway.

So Lazy Reblog Week continues here on Koganbot, hat-tip this time to [livejournal.com profile] just_keep_on. "Chocolate Love" was part of the promo campaign for LG Electronics' Cyon division's Chocolate BL-40 phone, back in '09. Also in on the campaign, the group f(x) did an even dancier, bumpier version; not quite as good, though, owing to their singing not being as warm as SNSD's. Also, being the Electronic Pop version, it lacks SNSD's tubas and honky-tonk.

(Phone commercials seem to have an important role in K-pop: especially there's the epic Lee Hyori video for Samsung's Anystar, the third of three major video productions she did for Samsung. This video also served as trainee Park Bom's debut, Bom going on to fame in 2NE1. And according to Wikip, Miss A's early public performances pre-Min, in China, included appearances on behalf of Samsung China's Anycall campaign.)

*EDIT: See comment thread. Checking the Korean Copyright Association writers' credits, Kenzie isn't listed at all for this song, whereas Bloodshy & Avant (Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg) are, as well as Henrik Jonback, so that's three of the four writers of "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex." But when we get to the fourth credit, Cathy Dennis is missing and Karen Poole is in her place. Checking Wikip's page for Karen Poole, though, and it doesn't include "L.A. Ex" among her compositions, so I don't know, except I think I've done all the research I want to do for today.


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