K-Pop Korner: G Dragon & TOP – 뻑이가요 (Knock Out)January 24, 2011
It’s been a while since I dragged you all down to the Korner. So drag you I will, like screeching, flailing children, snatched off the streets by some Dickensian predator. Whether I do this purely for the purposes of sadistic pleasure or merely because I’ve run into one of those quiet times where I have nothing better to write about, I’ll leave entirely up to you to decide. (Little from column A, little from column B).
GD & TOP is the name given to what is currently being explained as a “unit group” offshoot project of the Korean boy band, Big Bang. What this means, in essence, is that the two far more popular members of the five-piece group have recorded and released their own album free of the dead weight of the other three guys who nobody cares about. I don’t even know the names of the lesser three, and I researched this shit for at least twenty minutes. G Dragon (Kwon Ji-young) has featured here before, the waif-like, sex-pixie prince of K-Pop, though he is now here paired with his childhood friend and fellow Big Banger TOP (Choi Seung-hyun). TOP, who also moonlights as a TV actor in various dramas, seems to have undergone a makeover for this recent project, perhaps as a means of comfortably matching the androgynous flamboyance of G Dragon. He can now be seen sporting spiked, steel grey hair, strutting around with the air of an improbably erotic, Arctic elf.
The title of this song, 뻑이가요 (“Bbukigayo”), is translated as “Knock Out” but different English translations of the lyrics, in which the word appears many times, have it as either “knock out” or “obsession”, suggesting the true meaning to be somewhere betwixt the two. The song is little more than rap lyrics where G Dragon and TOP extrapolate at length on how awesome they are. TOP tells us that he’s both a music and movie star, so popular that there’s a brand of iced coffee named after him (a mild joke alluding to the T.O.P. coffee sold in Korean convenience stores) and, most intriguingly, that his “long eyelashes are born from natural freedom different from disgusting smoky make-up”. This has been interpreted as a swipe at some of his Korean boyband peers with their propensity to indulge in generous applications of eyeliner, although one has to question the sincerity of this critique of the appearance of his contemporaries, coming as it does from a man clad in a tuxedo whilst sporting generic bling jewelry and an oversized bow tie. G Dragon, for his part, compares himself to both a Korean cartoon superhero and the Emperor Napoleon before dismissively waving off the numerous scandals he has accrued in his career (allegations of plagiarism and an outcry following him dry-humping a dancer on-stage at one of his shows). However, that’s enough with the finer details. If you were to level the futile accusation at K-Pop that it is far too heavily style-over-substance I imagine the response from the Korean music industry would be “what’s substance?” I happened upon this tune purely because I found the music video batshit insane and therefore thoroughly entertaining. It’s packed with all sorts of random nonsense that isn’t ever explained; from the heavy smattering of the Playboy logo everywhere and dancers dressed like Playboy bunnies to the multitude of eccentric costume choices, the addition of a full-scale tank and finally the magnificent climax that sees the two pop stars riding what looks like Segways designed by Tim Burton and sitting in plastic chairs shaped like asses, gesturing with their hands clad in Mickey Mouse gloves. It’s like a living cartoon, unbridled pop-art delivered in a stream of its own fevered consciousness. Doom your brain with the video below.
GD & TOP – ‘뻑이가요 (Knock Out)’