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K-Pop Korner: T-ara – Bo Peep

August 31, 2010

It has been some time since we sauntered down to the Korner, dear readers. As ever, I am a perpetually distracted flibbertigibbet and the temptation to indulge in homo-erotic jokes about Korean pop stars was recently lost amidst concerns about movies, a busier than anticipated summer work schedule, a spot of traveling, and the resumption of decent reading habits on my part.

T-ara arrived on the K-Pop scene some 18 months ago after reportedly training for three years prior to their debut. They first came to my attention when one of my students, when offered the opportunity to select a music video to watch at the end of class, requested a song that I thought was called “Boobie Boobie”. After an awkward few moments, and the eventual deployment of a pen and paper, it transpired that the song was called “Bo Peep Bo Peep“, the then-new hit single by girl group T-ara.

The song concerns a girl who is in the process of acknowledging that her jealous behaviour of wrongly accusing her lover of cheating on her and her high-maintenance antics of pestering him with phone calls and, er, “pressuring him to come quickly” (possibly an error in the translation) has resulted in him losing patience with her insufferable bullshit and fixing his eyes on the door. What the fuck this has to do with “Bo Peep” is anyone’s guess but the name is squeakily intoned throughout the chorus as the girls bounce around. They do a lot of bouncing. The tone of the video is entirely upbeat and chirpy, despite the nature of the song. Rather than looking pained and sultry or melodramatically imploring, the girls sing about convincing their exasperated lover to stay whilst pulling funny faces, making rabbit ears with their hands and waving with cheesy grins and cartoon expressions of cutesy, faux annoyance. The ass-bouncing moves during the chorus do seem to bridge the gap between amusing Korean cuteness and sexual arousal that has largely eluded me thus far but this is a weird, irritating song overall. There may be a more sinister undercurrent at play. At a guess, I’d say the boyfriend has reached the end of his tether and he’s either ready to head for the hills or choke the ever-loving shit out of the bitch or both and now her only option is to diffuse his seething antipathy by transforming herself into a pliant, fun-loving cartoon character that is nonetheless sexually available. Some sick, depraved hentai fantasy made flesh. Judge for yourselves below.

T-ara – “Bo Peep Bo Peep”

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