koganbot: (Default)
Just in time for my first quarter wrap, Crayon Pop show up in shtetl garb traditionalist clothing, playing old people's music as the young-un's in back discreetly tap their toes. Above them in the ten, Wa$$up ring my bell, BiS prove that Anti-Idol is Idol, Tinashe brushes my Cassie spot, Future gets together with a bunch of other dopes to move some dope, Kate Nash punks better than she'd ever quirked, Orange Caramel assay a disco-Cuban b-side to which they barely even attempt to dance, Dal★shabet crochet in freestyle, Puer Kim does an elegant monster maash, and Nicki Minaj scores by any means necessary.

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

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

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11 through 20 )

Jingle the bell.

Minami 3

Sep. 3rd, 2013 07:24 am
koganbot: (Default)
About Korea not Japan, here's a quotation I lifted from a comment by Subdee:

I'll say again that I don't think the point is necessarily to maintain a fantasy of availability. I think the main point is to be more relateable to the (young) audience. Korean middle school students are also frequently under a dating ban until they pass their high school entrance exams, they also have to sneak around on dates and not get caught, etc. It's the same reason there are few co-ed idol groups (because Korean middle schools are also sex-segregated).
My immediate thought when I first read this wasn't that it must be wrong, but that it makes assumptions that don't make sense to me: that no matter the differences among Korean middle schoolers in social class, social grouping (e.g., freak, jock, nerd, skater, or whatever the various groupings are in Korea, not assuming they're the same in all neighborhoods), religion, opinion, etc., they're all more or less living the same life and doing the same amount of homework and sharing the identical attitude towards whether stars should date. Whereas I'd expect a whole range of all of these. And if an issue is controversial, there'll be vast differences of opinions even among one's friends and in one's social set. So I'd expect that there'd be constituencies for all sorts of star behavior, not just for one type of star or star behavior. So if there really is an almost-across-the-board dating band for idol performers, or at least a don't-ask-don't-tell policy (I don't know that either is true, in Korea, not paying attention to the supposed-personal-life-of-stars aspect as much as some of you do), the question would be: why does one constituency seem to outshout all the others?

Also, what does "being under a dating ban" mean in regard to a middle school student? Even if parents say you shouldn't date, I'd think the crucial question would be what does your peer group and what do your friends think. They're the real enforcers here. Not that you want to get in trouble with your parents, but if you and your friends have a positive attitude towards dating (whether you want to risk it or not), then if you get caught or get in trouble or are afraid to you'll still likely have a positive attitude towards idol stars who date. Also, from Subdee's description, I'd think the ideal star would be one under a supposed dating ban who nonetheless dates, gets caught, but doesn't always give way or show remorse, or whose remorse is obviously only pro forma.

Sashihara Rino )


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

500 what?

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

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

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

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

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

koganbot: (Default)
If we think of disco and Italodisco as being to the '70s and '80s what rock 'n' roll was to the '50s and early '60s, and if we think of techno and acid house and some of the other visionary stuff in the broad electronic dance area as being to the '80s and '90s and onward what rock was to the '60s and early '70s, then let's say there's the tendency within techno/EDM to embrace its lost rock 'n' roll/disco self in the same way that in the late '60s and early '70s the punks and glamsters and glitter babes were rediscovering their own lost rock 'n' roll/pop/punk selves and inventing something new out of it. One of the words that emerged when "the punk rock movement" started to go big was "power pop." According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by Pete Townshend back in 1967. But as an idea (Greg Shaw's I think, though I don't recall if I was reading his own words on the subject or other people who were crediting him), it doesn't emerge until the late '70s, the idea being that, while punk was a necessary moment of destruction, the music we really want is more open and expansive, a broader palette, hence "power pop" (the term subsequently designating something far too narrow, unfortunately, but that's not Greg's fault). So my thesis is that the real new power pop — as opposed to rock-based throwbacks like "Bar Bar Bar" — is EDM in its more pop and cheesy and reductively opportunist impulses (of course, my def'n of "new" here goes back to the early '90s; one of the advantages of being old is I can take "new" back a long ways; e.g., to me anything Dylan did after 1967 is "late Dylan").

Of course, the '70s and '80s weren't the '50s and '60s, and techno etc. wasn't/isn't the new version of the supposed '60s rock revolution, though I actually think there's a hunk to be gained from exploring those analogies. Disco didn't have nearly as much of rock 'n' roll's air of insurgency, but like r'n'r it took the funk 'n' groove of its time while carrying itself as if to say "we can bring this to the whole world, and use anything in the world in our sound." (Hip-hop also felt it could use anything but was very much about staking out its own territory.) And disco was probably more insurgent and utopian than outsiders realized, just as rock 'n' roll and rock were more of a consumer niche and less insurgent than claimed. (Not that being a consumer niche forestalls all insurgency.)

Pushing the analogy )

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Notes )
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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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koganbot: (Default)
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"

Minami 2

Feb. 10th, 2013 02:07 pm
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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 )


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

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

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

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

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

 photo Minami Minegishi shaved head.jpg

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

Crossing the border )

G-Dragon )

Results nobody wants )
koganbot: (Default)
Added this to my Oral Hygiene post after YouTube yanked the Japanese video I'd embedded for Hara's "Secret Love." (Goo Hara is one of the singers in K-pop band Kara, who are massively popular in Japan as well as Korea and gear some of their material especially for Japan.) Fortunately, I found another full version of the Japanese PV,* and that's up now, though I fear it'll get killed too. The only official Universal Records posting of the vid that I could find on YouTube is a 14-second teaser. And this isn't an isolated incident: the official posting of the video for 2NE1's Japanese single "Scream" only showed the first half.

Japanese music labels keep trying to prevent us from seeing full videos on YouTube. At least I've noticed that some do. DEAR JAPAN - THERE ARE REASONS WHY K-POP IS BREAKING BIG INTERNATIONALLY AND J-POP IS NOT. Well, the Korean market is smaller than the Japanese market, so Korea has to go international if it wants to score big. In any event, Korean labels give us full access to their videos, though some Korean TV networks will put the kibosh on TV performance clips (it being the labels and not the TV stations that benefit from international attention, I suppose). But in general, South Korea has opened itself up to the international eye and ear via YouTube.
*Music vids are called PVs in Japan and MVs in Korea.
koganbot: (Default)
Hara's "Secret Love" appeared a couple of months ago in Japan without my knowing it and the Korean version is getting a push now as part of a collection of Kara solo outings. Is an excellent example of the sort of toothpaste-smile disco that would appear in instrumental versions as background music in early '80s American TV shows, and like a lot of other discarded styles is alive and bright in Korea.

EDIT: Japanese music labels keep trying to prevent us from seeing full videos on YouTube. At least I've noticed that some do. DEAR JAPAN - THERE ARE REASONS WHY K-POP IS BREAKING BIG INTERNATIONALLY AND J-POP IS NOT. Well, one is that the Korean market is smaller than the Japanese market, so Korea has to go international if it wants to score big. In any event, Korean labels give us access to their videos, though some Korean TV networks will put the kibosh on TV performance clips (it being the labels and not the TV stations that benefit from international attention, I suppose). But in general, South Korea has opened itself up to the international eye and ear via YouTube.

Meanwhile, the Japanese PV I embedded for "Secret Love" got yanked (the only official Universal Records posting I could find for it is a 14-second teaser). Fortunately I was able to locate another copy of the full PV; we'll see if it stays. The Japanese video is better than the Korean: the song sounds a bit brighter with Japanese vowels and consonants, and the video has a more satisfying — less happy! — ending.

In any event, here's the Korean ver.:

Here are the two vids compared:

Here's a non-PV of the Japanese version:

koganbot: (Default)
With only a couple of furlongs left, DJ Bedbugs is a nose ahead in the quest for his second consecutive title.

TOP NONSINGLES Through Third Quarter 2012:
1. DJ Bedbugs "Hella Hollup"
2. E.via "Night Blooming Roses"
3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Oh Susannah"
4. After School "Eyeline"
5. T-ara "T-aratic Magic Music"
6. DJ Bedbugs "Aaron's Party Rocking"
7. Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Wayfarin' Stranger"
8. TaeTiSeo "Baby Steps"
9. DJ Bedbugs "Come Out And K"
10. DJ Bedbugs "Ready To Greenlight"
11. Neon Bunny "First Love"
12. DJ Bedbugs "Your Mann"
13. After School "Broken Heart"

Number 5 and number 13 are in Japanese.

What Is A "Single," And, By Negation, A "Nonsingle"?

Something's a single if it acts like a single or gets treated like a single, no matter what it is (even if it's a 50-minute webrip of a symphony). So "Gimme Shelter" is a single, "Stairway To Heaven" in its long version is a single, "Takeover" is a single, though none of those three was on an actual physical single. And certainly if it's promoted by the label as an album's or EP's "emphasis track" or "focus track" it's a single.

If it doesn't act like a single, it nonetheless can be a single if... )

"T-aratic Magic Music"

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)
Stupid thought of the day: the drums are the defensive linemen, the bass is the linebackers, the rest of the instruments are the cornerbacks, nickel backs, safeties, etc. The singer or rapper is the opposing quarterback.

Of course, a lot of modern "electronic" defenses like to disguise their coverages, as in the Japanese version of After School's "Bang!"
koganbot: (Default)
SNSD's "Bad Girl" reviewed over on the Singles Jukebox; I love the song, but most others don't consider it bad enough.

Strangely, no version I could find of the official vid had adequate sound, including the one uploaded by SM Entertainment, so I decided if the fidelity wasn't going to be high I might as well use a "live" performance.

And while we're at it, here's an astonishing dance routine, SNSD's beginnings in 2007; Mat says: "This is the most impressive dance performance I've ever seen from a girl group. It almost beggars belief. The stuff around the 3 minute mark is just scary.... Helps that it's all lipsynced — it's noticeably less sharp on regular performances — and that the camera is fixed so we get the amazing sync work and units moving around the stage. I don't expect them to ever match this level again because it was their debut track and they exclusively practiced this choreography for such a long time."

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Super Junior's "Bijin" is reviewed today at the Singles Jukebox. I wouldn't say I get Super Junior; I was one of the low scorers. Here's the Korean-language original, which I'd have given an extra point, raising it to 7:

koganbot: (Default)
For the many people* who ask me "Why Korea?" my answer is love. Yes, and there are plenty of other answers too, one being that people who know more than I do come to my lj and talk to me about K-pop, providing sociability and mindwork, and another being that K-pop is creating a hip-hop, r&b, dance-pop amalgam far better than the Billboard Hot 100's, and so on and so forth. But there's always got to be love. With rock there was Jagger**, with glitter the Dolls, with punk the Stooges, with disco Donna, with hip-hop Spoonie Gee, with freestyle Debbie Deb (both the real Debbie Deb and the imposter), with hair-metal Axl, with teenpop Ashlee, etc.***

 photo E.via megaphone.jpg

In this instance****, though, especially given the cultural distance, my not knowing Korea or Korean, I really can't say what's going on; this has inspired me to actually read some books about Korea. Not that what I learn will tell me what I want to know here, which is whether the E.via I've fallen in love with, whom I basically constructed in my mind out of scraps and song bits*****, has anything to do with any kind of reality. Did the Jagger? Pretty much everyone on my love list above has got some Jagger in her or him, or has me projecting the Jagger, anyway, Jagger Jagger burning bright, a combination of Jagger and Miss Lonely, my believing that the world is continually picking up the baton that the Stones and Dylan dropped, and dropping and picking up again.

E.via's attitude towards cute like Ray Davies' attitude towards sunny afternoons )

video for Hey!, plus commentary )
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)
People on my flist ought to consider this, as some of you seem to know what you're talking about.


"In the Mix: Asian Popular Music"
Conference, Princeton University, March 25th-26th, 2011.

A conference organized with support from the Department of East Asian Studies, the Department of Music, the Program in American Studies, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University.

Special Talk and Performance: DJ Krush

Deadline for Submissions: November 30, 2010

We welcome proposals on any aspect of popular music in Asia or by Asians or Asian-Americans )
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.
koganbot: (Default)
Mid-Year Lists 2010

Singles First Half 2010: "Blah Blah Blah" is the big hairy dance-mess that's dancing over the world, while Aggro and Dizzee are the only other representatives here of 2010's dance-pop mess. Not enough country on this list, and at this time of year that's usually my fault, but this time I think it's country's. (Probably not enough dancehall or hip-hop or kuduro either, but vuvuzelas are represented.)

Singles First Half 2010 )

New year's irresolution: I did not begin the year by saying to myself, "2010 will be the year when I actually like a Katie Melua single."

My tracks list (as opposed to this singles list, though with huge overlap) is over on poptimists.

Country Singles First Half 2010 )

Albums First Half 2010: Hmmm. I think I've listened to a grand total of eleven new albums. Now, hearing a lot by a performer can definitely enrich my understanding of that performer, albums at times can feed and grow wonderfully as tracks interact, etc., but I'm swamped in music coming at me from all directions, and I just don't know where people get the time. Here's my list so far:

Albums First Half 2010 )

Video: Here's a vid:

h/t Mat


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