Archive for the ‘K-Pop Korner’ Category

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K-Pop Korner: Hyuna – Bubble Pop!

June 27, 2012

Bubble Pop!‘ is well known, children. It has long since floated far and wide beyond the confines of these calm, Korean waters, to alight on western pop culture consciousness with 29 million Youtube views and counting. In attempting to explain how it has accomplished this I would cite its indomitable strength and purity as a pop product. It’s there in the title, it’s in every frame of the video, and it’s in the relentless madness of the song itself.

Sitting here, scrutinizing the video with quiet intensity, in the serious manner of Jean-Luc Picard in his captain’s chair on the bridge of the Enterprise, I find myself pondering, “what is the bubble she’s referring to?” Is it her ass? Perhaps, for the callipygian Korean lass is given to emphatically shaking and swinging it around throughout her dance routine. Then, my internal inquiry proceeds, is she therefore demanding her derrière be popped in some fashion? Further, and more to the point, can I make it so? I extend a gentle, yet nonetheless phallocentric, index finger in the direction of the jubilant and gyrating buttocks of the young woman on my computer screen as Picard’s stentorian voice rumbles that famed authoritative phrase in my head. He would also quote Shakespeare of course, perhaps some Melville. “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee“, although that would suggest a dark and fiendish lust for ass quite unbecoming an officer of Starfleet.

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K-Pop Korner: Big Bang – Fantastic Baby (빅뱅 – 판타스틱 베이비)

May 3, 2012

Big Bang bounce back to babble barbaric beats into our battered brains.

Actually, they’ve been “back” for about two months now but that’s how long it has taken me to ensnare a passing flying fuck and get around to telling you all about it. Their latest mini-album, ‘Alive’, was released on February 29th and they appear to have thrown out three singles in quick succession thereafter. Of these songs, two are fairly simpering affairs that merit little further comment, but one of them, ‘Fantastic Baby’, has just the requisite amount of electro-pop charm and a ludicrous enough music video to warrant having the keen eye of the Korner cast upon it.

The song itself is Big Bang aiming for a club anthem and, as such, it’s an uncomplicated affair entreating everyone to dance, dance, dance. The lyrics veer from simplistic hip-hop self-aggrandizement to the abjectly nonsensical, although there is always the possibility that a great deal is being lost in translation.

From one to ten, everything is one level above/ Even if we crazily run on sand, we’re still so agile/ Because the sky is blue enough.

That’s their rather abstract way of saying that they’re hot shit and they follow it later with the insightful line, “Ice, ice, ice, hold up/ Na na na na”. That said, it’s a fairly catchy tune and it gets the job done, but where the K-Pop of YG Entertainment really excels is in the eyeball-fucking insanity of the more elaborate music videos. They’re not always as interesting or amusing as this one; the video for Big Bang’s song ‘Blue’ just has them fannying about in parts of New York, indulging in their favored fetish of chasing after white chicks (something I’ve already observed from G-Dragon and TOP but failed to adequately explore here).

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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”.

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K-Pop Korner: IU (아이유) – You & I (너랑 나)

December 23, 2011

Yeah, yeah, Kim Jong-il’s dead and loads of folk are wondering what in gibbery-fuck is going to happen, and there’s a lot of fresh reading and research to be done on that, but let’s just forget all about it for a moment and see what the Korner has in store for us this Kristmas.

Aye, you!

IU (real name: Lee Ji-eun) started her music career in 2008 at the tender age of 15. Although primarily a singer, she is known for doing a substantial bit of acting in Korean TV drama and is notable amongst her peers for being in possession of a decent singing voice. She proves this by occasionally whipping out an acoustic guitar and covering popular contemporary Korean tunes for live studio set broadcasts. IU recently released her second full album, entitled Last Fantasy, the lead single for which has a lengthy and elaborate music video that kind of has a tenuous Christmassy feel to it, hence why it was selected for the Kristmas Korner entry.

This video is about a girl who lives in a big clock tower with her pet goose and an inexplicably unconscious boyfriend. It’s a welcome change to the vast majority of K-Pop videos I’ve subjected myself to, with muted Tim Burton undertones sans the stripes, a smattering of sepia, and the faintest trace of steampunk affectations. I have no idea why the guy is unconscious but I have been assured by teenage girls that he is famous and therefore of inherently great value whatever his status. When not tending at the bedside of her comatose beau, IU diligently busies herself constructing a clockwork device at a workbench that is later revealed to be a clockwork and cylinder-powered, Tardis-esque time machine! (No bullshit folks, I thought that was pretty cool.) After bidding farewell to the benumbed boyfriend, she gathers up her pet goose and departs for the future, her plan to presumably meet up with the guy when he’s recovered and they can be together properly (or so I’ve managed to glean from K-Pop sites and the translated lyrics). Later, we see the now-awake boyfriend shopping in an ornate chocolate shop only to realize, upon turning to leave, that the cashier is none other than his long-lost love IU sporting a grown up hairstyle.

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K-Pop Korner: Girls’ Generation (SNSD/소녀시대) – The Boys

November 23, 2011

November is almost done and I’ve failed spectacularly on the blogging front thus far. *Sigh* What say we mosey on down to the Korner here and see what we can see?

SNSD/소녀시대/Girl's Generation

Girls’ Generation (SNSD/소녀시대) aren’t fucking about. They’ve been kicking the shit out of the Japanese market, picking up Korean cultural awards from the prime minister, signing with Universal in order to target American and European audiences, playing to screaming fans in Paris, and pretty much shilling for everything from Domino’s pizza and fried chicken to Christian Dior and LG phones. As far as K-Pop is concerned, they’re the tip of the spear at the moment, and that’s due in no small part to their latest album release, ‘The Boys’, and the massive popularity of the eponymous lead single. My own investigative forays into Korean popular culture, i.e. asking a bunch of middle school girls what they’re into, confirm ‘The Boys’ as the indisputable favourite tune of the moment although, upon examination, this seems to be the result of an overwhelming promotional juggernaut that has browbeaten audiences into submission rather than the actual quality of the song itself.

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K-Pop Korner: f(x) – Hot Summer

August 5, 2011

You may think I have nothing better to write about. To that I say, “shut your damn whore mouths!” The Korner awaits…

‘Hot Summer’ appears to be a major K-Pop hit this year, it’s enjoying widespread airplay around Korea and is quite simply one of those songs you can’t get away from. It therefore seemed like perfect Korner fodder, a light distraction to yield a few laughs, but, unfortunately, the more I looked at it the less interesting it actually became. This has got to be one of the dullest and most insipid pieces of shit thrown out by the almighty K-Pop industry in a while. Let’s clear up some details about the group first. They’re called f(x) with the f apparently alluding to the notation for ‘function’ in mathematics and the corresponding x supposedly indicating that they’re a group who can change and adapt to many different situations, but the more you think about that the more likely you are to ram your own fist down your throat in an all-consuming rage at being exposed to such stupidity. It transpires that this song is also a cover of a track originally released by German pop group, Monrose. Monrose’s song is sung in English and features the kind of sexually charged, summer-themed lyrics you would expect, e.g. “it’s so hot I want to tear off my clothes” and, given what we know about German sexuality, the culmination of all that would likely be them pissing and shitting all over each other. However, quite in contrast, the Korean cover version features entirely different lyrics that are completely sexless. The girls chirp about it being summer, a hot summer, where the sky is clear and blue and they go to the ice cream store or down to the Han River. Later in the song they advise “sweating foreigners” to “wear something black and long” and, were that an allusion to penis, it would be wonderful, but instead it’s quite literally the fucking nonsensical advice to wear long black clothes to cope with summer heat. It is also a somewhat surreal experience, as a sweating foreigner, to feel like a K-Pop song is addressing you directly.

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K-Pop Korner: E.Via – Shake! (이비아 – 쉐이크!)

June 22, 2011

The Korner, my trusted bolthole from blogger’s block.

I had intended my next K-Pop entry to be a sprawling, darkly satirical piece that alluded to the Korean War but that promptly collapsed under the weight of its own ambition two days ago and so I opted for an easier, low-brow option instead.

E.Via (real name, Lee Ok-joo) is purported to be Korea’s fastest female rapper, officially clocking in at 160 BPM according to allkpop.com. Sceptical old curmudgeon that I am, I can’t help but be unimpressed by this claim, having long suspected that rapping in Korean is considerably easier than in English, given the vast amount of words in hangul which rhyme. Why, just the other day I managed to practically rap my ass off having dinner with friends when I effortlessly rhymed the Korean word for “deer” (saseum) with the Korean word for “breast” (kaseum) and then came right off the fucking chain to end with the phrase “gas ’em”, for good measure. But I digress. Despite lacking an overtly sexualized image herself, E.Via’s tunes have come under fire for their content on more than one occasion. Her debut album featured a single entitled ‘Oppa, can I do it?’ which appears to have been a not-so-subtle song involving a girl frankly asking a guy if she can fuck him, replete with lascivious Korean slang terms and orgasmic moaning in the vocal to drive the point home. This song was subsequently banned from Korean TV and radio broadcast and the album hit with a 19+ age rating. A cursory investigation into the English lyrics reveals little of note beyond the line “can you get it up?” which an alternative translation has as the more innocuous “can you get it started?”, the wider sexual content allegedly throughout the song likely being lost in translation.

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