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)
Anybody know anything about this? According to Billboard, it's been on the K-pop chart for 39 weeks, never getting above 35. A trot rhythm, ballad-like but definitely Asian. In the olden days, this would have been my stereotype of what Asian pop sounds like. Touches of what seem like country & western, but the resemblance may be a coincidence (though I wouldn't assume it's a coincidence). Also, a few big-band r&b horn flourishes.

Presumably, it's old people who listen to this. I'm an old person, and I like it.

[EDIT: YouTube took down the studio version, so here's a live performance.]

Longest-running K-pop qua K-pop tracks in the top 50 are Ailee's "Heaven" (which is a big ballad, really, though I'll count it as K-pop given that K-poppers give it their ears), 15 weeks, and Big Bang's "Fantastic Baby," 12 weeks. The Gaon chart doesn't list longevity, but goddamn "Moves Like Jagger" is still in the Top 100 after 9 months or so. T-ara's "Lovey-Dovey" just fell out of the Top 100 after approximately 20 weeks; IU's "You And I" and Trouble Maker's "Trouble Maker" are still in the low 100s after about 25.

Unlike American pop, K-pop has a blockbuster pattern. Releases are events, and they get crowded out by the next week's events. Even the most popular songs stay only several weeks near the top. SNSD's mark of 9 consecutive wins for "Gee" on Music Bank in early '09 will likely never be beaten. (The Gaon chart didn't exist yet. I think it's slightly easier for a teen-oriented K-pop song to hang onto number one on the TV performance show charts than on Gaon, since ballads aren't as much in the competition. But still, 2 weeks is a lot and 4 weeks is dominating. Not sure how IU's "You And I" did on the performance charts, but it stayed atop Billboard K-pop for a solid 5 weeks, and remained in the top 10 for a total of 9. See Wikipedia's Korea K-Pop Hot 100 entry for the other long runners.)
koganbot: (Default)
Q: What do the following have in common: Good Day, Dum Dum Boys, Get Away With Murder, In My Eyes, Try To Follow Me?

A: Damned if I know — other than that they're all song titles, modern (i.e., post-nineteenth-century) popular music.

The question arises because those titles are together on a piece of scrap paper from last week, in my handwriting. What was on my mind? I have no memory of writing this.

I have mp3's of some but not all of these, so I wasn't trying to remind myself that I'd been dicking around with their tags, or needed to.

Performers, if you're interested: IU (아이유), Iggy Pop, Ashlee Simpson, Minor Threat, 2NE1 (투에니원). Robyn does an "In My Eyes" too, but I'm sure I've given it no thought in the last year and a half. The Ashlee song is really entitled "Murder."

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(Video plays even though the still shows blank here)

Your search - "good day" "dum dum boys" "get away with murder" "in my eyes" "try to follow me" - did not match any documents.

Did any of you write about those songs last week?

Also on that piece of scrap paper: my guesses as to who is who in various group photos of SNSD. I've decided it's about time I learned to match name and face for them. So far I'm doing real poorly. They keep changing their damn hairstyles. First photo, I only got Sooyoung, Yuri, Sunny, and Seohyun correct. Next photo I got Tiffany, Yoona, Sunny, Hyoyeon. How did I miss Sooyoung? Third photo, I got Taeyeon, Yoona, Sunny, and Sooyoung. Sunny's the only one I always get instantly.
koganbot: (Default)
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
koganbot: (Default)
How to get Maura Johnston interested in K-pop )

Britney )

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

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

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

Singles ballot )

Albums ballot )

Why I don't capitalize the m in 4minute )

Loose Sync

Jan. 8th, 2012 01:09 am
koganbot: (Default)
Loose lips sink ships, but loose sync is the shit.

Excellent post by [livejournal.com profile] arbitrary_greay about "loose sync":

There are some cases where the performers can be putting their own spin on the same steps and yet still seeming in perfect sync. I like to call this "loose sync," as usually the music for these performances don't have the emphasis on the beat and feel looser as well. It's much harder to achieve loose sync because it's dependent on the chemistry between performers. Any decent dancers can achieve regular sync given enough rehearsal time in front of a mirror. But dancing differently and still feeling matched? That takes EVEN MORE rehearsal time, an innate understanding of how one's body moves to the music, and usually perfectionist tendencies from the parties involved.

Lots of embeds in the post; here's an example to whet your appetite:

SweetS )
koganbot: (Default)
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Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic, "Ready 4 Romance"

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

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

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

Albums )

Wild rose

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

Kogan links )

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

Albums Longlist 2010 )

Country Singles Longlist 2010 )

Martin Ramey vid )
koganbot: (Default)
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.")
koganbot: (Default)
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.
koganbot: (Default)
"Today my body is acting strange, as if it doesn't belong to me." Returning to the locked ward, we present IU's new video, "The Story Only I Didn't Know":

The major aesthetic question is can even a singer as sensitive as IU get me to like ballads, the answer here being, "Well, she did this time, but she doesn't always."

The lyrics are basically, You were leaving for good, you never actually felt love, but I was the last to know. Or as the Zombies might have said, Well, no one told me about him, the way he lied. The video, however, surrounds the track in a whole psych-ward story, bathed in numbed-out, walking-dead white. So the shattering of what was probably a brief affair is a mental shattering as well, love leading to pathology, or love itself a form of insanity - 'cept just because they're in an asylum doesn't mean the video is presenting this extreme breakdown as anything but the way things are, a hyperbolic expression of how it feels, and no sense that love shouldn't be this devastating thing, or that maybe such devastation isn't love.

Dialogue at the end:

"Your father passed away, right?" "He will come back. Everyone thinks he is my dad. But that person... is not my dad," leading some YouTube commenters to think the video's adding an incest and abuse theme, or a stepdad theme, or both. But a simpler interpretation would just be that the doctor is trying to link up the young woman's trauma with the recent loss of her dad, whereas the woman's got a different man on her mind, loss piling upon loss.

Conveniently, today in America this vid is introduced by an ad for Source Code, a flick about a military man whose mind crosses over into another man's body.

Beautiful song.

You must look like someone I once knew )

As usual, I'm cross-posting this over on Poptimists.

[UPDATE:As Mat informs me over on the "Plastic Face" thread, many LOEN Entertainment and Nega Network videos, including this one, are directed by Hwang Su-a (황수아; which also gets transliterated Hwang Soo Ah); she also did "Good Day" and "You And I" and Infinite's "Before The Dawn" and "Be Mine" and Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" and Ga-In's "Irreversible," among others. An impressive track record.]
koganbot: (Default)
Prodded by Maddie's preferring Seungri's "What Can I Do?" to Enrique Iglesias's "Tonight I'm Fuckin' You" (wish I could agree with Maddie, but I think "Tonight" kills "What Can I Do?"), and also recalling that I have not yet gotten close to writing and posting all my year-end lists/appraisals, I want to officially dub 2010 as The Year In Which, Among Other Things, I Had Trouble Coming To A Consistent Opinion Regarding Enrique Iglesias (the "among other things" is there so that I can officially call 2010 the year of a whole lot of other things as well, e.g., I officially dub 2010 as The Year In Which Pitbull Was Massive, Though I'm Not Sure Massively What, But Jonathan Bogart Was The Only Person In My Critical Neighborhood To Write More Than A Sentence Or Two About Him). So anyway, let's recall 2010 (w/ links for anyone who wants to see the full text).

Come on baby, do the vacillation )

That vid makes me wish I were watching Michelangelo Antonioni's brilliant L'Avventura, instead.
koganbot: (Default)
So far. And three of them are holdovers from last year, which I justify down in the wonky notes. I've already posted about Jeremih, the gorgeous tenuousness of the sounds seeming to have nothing to do with the booty-gazing lyrics. You likely already know about the Britney, and if you haven't heard "High High" yet, that's hardly my fault. "Knock Out" is a bouncing bit of spare and twisting bubble bubble gum-smacking Korean hip-hop that doesn't match up with anything else anywhere that I can think of and will get a post of its own someday soon.

Meanwhile, "Ready 4 Romance" is roll-along-the-floor techno-dance that could play in any disco anywhere, atmospherics echoing through the atmosphere and a breathy girl occasionally showing up to say she needs me. "S&M" sounds bright and silly where you'd expect it to be dark and domineering, and is better for it. "No 1," the instrumental version of a B-side of an aggressively chirpy Korean girl-group single, is a bit of throwaway dance funk with a snaking synth line. "Good Day" is a diva showcase that morphs into a disco showbiz hussy and is a brilliant song, even if warm and appealing IU is neither diva nor hussy and doesn't blaze across the track the way it needs her to. And finally "Mocha Java" is a cooing little come-on, the basic background sound from backwater Russian dance clubs to international airport bars, though this happens to be Taiwanese.

1. Jeremih "Down On Me"
2. Britney Spears "Hold It Against Me"
3. GD&TOP "High High"
4. GD&TOP "Knock Out"
5. Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic "Ready 4 Romance"
6. Rihanna "S&M"
7. Secret "No. 1 (Inst.)"
8. IU "Good Day"
9. Xoxo "Mocha Java"

I have no number ten, so you need to tell me what it should be.

Wonky Notes )

Scruples force me to note that I have never actually been in a backwater Russian dance club. I admit it.
koganbot: (Default)
New GD&TOP single "High High," vocals and beats twisted as electronically tight as they can be, club music contorted into pretzels, and GD & TOP finally breaking into song* at 2:20. I think even the Brits in my readership - if any Brits are still reading - will be won over by this one.

*EDIT: When they do this they spell out G-H-E-T-T-O E-L-E-C-T-R-O, and googling the term I got a St. Louis Record Company (their Website streaming what I'd ignorantly or archaically call "industrial dance rock"); DJ Godfather, a ghettotech guy from Detroit; Egyptian Lover, an electro hop DJ from L.A.; and this very strange entry at Urban Dictionary: Generating money for your home via money saving methods. Origin: Originating for Korea, it was first heard in the mythological pairing of a dragon and a white haired extremely good looking man. "The hamster is not running fast enough to generate enough ghetto electro to heat my shower." That's tongue-in-cheek, presumably. Right?
koganbot: (Default)
The Singles Jukebox, which is by far the best review site I see regularly,* has just started its second annual Amnesty Week: each of the regular writers nominates a favorite single that hasn't yet gotten a Jukebox review, and then we all review the nominees. Lots of good stuff; I've already awarded one 9, with two or three more to come, which surpasses the combined total from the rest of my Jukebox year.

Reviews of After School's "Bang!" are up, so you can see what I wrote there; but also I'd sent the reviewers an advance email to (in Will's words) "suggest to yr fellow writers why your nomination is worth a listen":

I nominated After School's "Bang!" which is a bunch of young idol-factory women playing toy soldier. This speaks for itself, if you know Korean and understand Korea. Or maybe Koreans are as baffled by it as I am and like being intrigued. The group are supposedly modeled after the Pussycat Dolls for their "matured and sexy concept," if you buy that. I wonder if this track sounds as violent to its prime K-pop audience as it does to me, violently bright - hip-hop and r&b shined up into an aggressively playful hardness. Then they go stunningly dreamy and gorgeous in the middle eight, and then shift right back to the violent shine.

Immature and sexy concept )

*Also the only review site I see regularly, but there's good reason to look regularly.
koganbot: (Default)
Trying to start a conversation over on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists about the new IU video ("Good Day"):


By the way, what would you say are the best IU tracks? I've heard very few of them. I like the one variously translated as "MIA," "Missing Child," and "Lost Child"; and I totally love her live version of "Gee"/"Sorry, Sorry."

koganbot: (Default)
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."]
koganbot: (Default)
Korean pop content over on poptimists. So when are you all going to start writing about K-pop? Especially if you are [livejournal.com profile] katstevens and you have a blog called The Vids Are Alright? Or you are [livejournal.com profile] dubdobdee and you managed North Korea in the Pop World Cup, or you are [livejournal.com profile] chuckeddy or [livejournal.com profile] freakytigger or [livejournal.com profile] skyecaptain or [livejournal.com profile] girlboymusic or [livejournal.com profile] martinskidmore or [livejournal.com profile] piratemoggy or [livejournal.com profile] jeff_worrell or [livejournal.com profile] hoshuteki or [livejournal.com profile] atommickbrane or [livejournal.com profile] miss_newham or [livejournal.com profile] cis or [livejournal.com profile] anthonyeaston or [livejournal.com profile] xyzzzz__ or [livejournal.com profile] braisedbywolves or... does anybody else use livejournal anymore?*

Anyhow, here's my K-pop tag, though you have to go to the comments to find most of the commentary and embeds, by people who know more than I do.

Meantime, performer to ponder = E.via. Seems to be in the Robyn/GaGa category, cutie-pie who's more sociologically like me than are other cutie-pies. Wonder if on that basis she could do well with, say, the current U.S. audience for Robyn.

Is it coincidence that most of the performers that we're discussing happen to be female, or is this an era where women make better frontpeople in K-pop just as they make better frontpeople in Anglo-American pop these days? (Crisis of masculinity part 1,061.)

*Who might be interested in K-pop, anyway: [livejournal.com profile] askbask, anhh (Anonymous), [livejournal.com profile] petronia, [livejournal.com profile] tarigwaemir, and I are carrying the conversation by ourselves, even if one of us - me - seems not to know what he's talking about.
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.


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