K-Pop Korner: Miss A – Bad Girl, Good Girl (배드걸 굿걸)

April 2, 2011

Mired in something of a blog-bog, and in need of a reliable, accessible escape route, where else to turn but the trusty Korner?

Miss A made their debut in July last year with the rather feisty single ‘Bad Girl, Good Girl’. I have to confess that I’m still struggling with the concept of “bad” when alluded to in Korean pop culture. For the most part I think it denotes a mildly defiant expression of sexuality but a clear definition has proven elusive.

The video here recalls the iconic imagery of Flashdance, with the girls of the group bedecked in quasi-80’s dance clothes, gyrating around the classroom and corridors of what looks like a dance school. Their moves consist of fairly risqué ass-swinging blended with the kind of dismissive flicking of the head and wagging fingers that apparently denote empowered femininity in the K-Popverse, with the notable and catchy parts of the song being the English language lines which bookend it; “You don’t know me/ So shut up, boy”. The phrase “shut up” carries somewhat more weight in Korea than it does in the general Anglosphere, both when used in its hangul equivalent and also when uttered in English, whereupon it is clearly understood by all Koreans. No surprise then that the single became hugely successful and the lyrics proved eminently quotable from Korean classrooms to popular TV shows.

‘Bad Girl, Good Girl’ itself isn’t particularly well put together but it does have a reasonable narrative message to impart. The girls scornfully address the kind of weak, insecure men that are afraid to talk to them but who will nonetheless talk shit about them behind their backs on account of the sexually provocative way in which these young women dress and dance. The guys enjoy ogling and leering at the girls whilst they’re shaking it in clubs but nonetheless express their disapproval afterward. ‘Bad Girl, Good Girl’ asserts the right of the girls to dress and dance like “bad girls”, especially as they insist that they’re still “good girls” inside and conduct themselves as such when in loving relationships. They end their song with an earnest entreaty for a real man, the kind of guy who can handle watching the cockthirsty way in which they boogie and give them the space to express themselves without getting jealous and pissy. These are sentiments with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Two of the four member group are in fact Chinese nationals retaining Chinese names which, given the overwhelmingly corporate, manufactured nature of Korean pop music, is not so much a gimmick as a shrewd marketing strategy aimed at reaping potentially larger rewards from the neighbouring economic giant with its massive, burgeoning consumer culture.  I’ll leave you with the video and a brief warning. One of the members of Miss A is only 16-years-old so, fellas, should you find yourself enjoying this video a little too much and perhaps cracking one off to it, be aware that you’re indulging in a game of jailbait roulette depending on which girl you stare at during the climactic moment.

Miss A – ‘Bad Girl, Good Girl’



  1. which one is 16? that 18-30 korean female gap is too difficult. i ran into many interesting situations in hongdae because of it. (I think you saw the tail end of one.)

  2. I’m afraid I’m not telling, Dylan. That would spoil the dynamic of jailbait roulette, whereby you craft mucky fantasies involving the girls in the video and wonder if the one you desire the most is of a suitable age.

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