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K-Pop Korner: Trouble Maker

February 27, 2012

Blogger’s block is a vile beast, a debilitating succubus. Fortunately, one can always take refuge in the confines of the Korner.

Trouble Maker is the name of collaborative duo consisting of members taken from Cube Entertainment’s only two notable acts, the girl group 4Minute and the boy group BEAST. Possibly for ease of promotional simplicity, ‘Trouble Maker’ is also the name given to their EP and the name of the lead single from the project, released on December 1st 2011. The girl involved, 19-year-old Hyuna, was already an established solo artist, having released a number of successful singles since early 2010 whereas 22-year-old Hyun-seung was making his first foray outside of BEAST and was inexplicably landed with the new stage name Jay Stomp, mercifully shortened to simply JS later. In the typically brazen corporate jargon of K-Pop, Trouble Maker are officially referred to as a “co-ed subunit”.

The song doesn’t offer much beyond its delightful and catchy whistled riff, somewhat reminiscent of the famous whistled tune from Kill Bill, ‘Twisted Nerve’, by Bernard Herrman. What constitutes a troublemaker in the song is just some light crap about making hearts beat fast and stealing kisses although Hyuna makes a valiant attempt to make everything seem more dangerous by indulging in some cat-themed dance moves that involve twisting one of her hands into a claw and scowling. The main story here appears to involve two secret agent types searching for each other in an elaborate, vintage decor hotel. Handguns feature quite prominently, with Hyuna delicately producing one from a desk drawer and the manner in which she handles and gazes at the considerable weapon hints at a possible symbolic desire on her behalf that suggests she may be yung and easily freudened.

Vigilant Korean netizens have already commented on the thematic similarity between this video and the music video for Justin Timberlake’s hit song ‘SexyBack’, also featuring a woman and a man who appear to be armed spies pursuing each other in an extravagant hotel. This later K-Pop rip-off homage distinguishes itself in the end, however, with an unexpected, over-the-top, and quite Korean epilogue. Facing each other in one of the hotel rooms, Hyuna fixes Hyunseung with her stare of mildly lobotomized sensuality and holds up an ornate lighter which she then throws to the floor. A wall of flames ignites in the middle of the room, seemingly trapping Hyunseung inside with the triumphant ice maiden sashaying out the door, only for the well-coiffed manchild to produce a semi-automatic pistol from his fruity jacket and aim it at the head of  the departing femme fatale. She turns at the sound of the tell-tale “click” and he keeps the guy steady, his face impassive. The screen cuts to black….and we hear the gunshot. You wouldn’t think the wee cherubic lad had it in him, but he straight up executes her. It’s like the end of Prizzi’s Honor up in this motherfucker! A somewhat subversive and surreal note to end four minutes of frivolous pop fluff.

Trouble Maker


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