sub_divided: cos it gets me through, hope you never stop (Default)
[personal profile] sub_divided
Getting back to 2NE1: someone must have realized, while putting together the album To Anyone, that they were making the ULTIMATE EXERCISE CD, right? Surely? I mean, it even sounds like a compilation of hit high-energy songs from 1998. ^^ After a brief-but-intense end-of-semester fling I burnt out on 2NE1, and rarely listen to their music anymore outside of the gym - and definitely never after 8pm - but for this specific purpose it is second to none. Can't Nobody at Seoul Music Festival Tokyo.

After falling for 2NE1 I fell for some other Korean pop acts, joining in on the third year of "girl group mania". That's a really serious description, by the way! Quick run down (these songs can be conveniently spotted at 900 yards by the double word titles): Girls' Generation, Girls'Day, Blady, Sistar, T-ara. You'll notice the underlying theme that they are crazy for you, lol, sometimes in a submissive way, but just as often in a really-not-fucking-around kind of way. Or, as queen-of-Kpop BoA, says, I'll Eat You Up. Making all of these songs actually metaphors for the rise-to-dominance of Kpop in Asia???

(Though speaking of the cute/sexy fantasy: no one exploits this better than e.via aka Happy Evil aka Korea's Best Troll, and no one panders to it more than UI... who I would like to like, because she is talented, but AUGH WHY NO IT'S WRONG.)

Anyhow given how much "crazy" is a part of the fantasy here, and how overused that trope really kind of is (in Kpop), after a while you just kind of roll your eyes. But I sort of like like T-ara and Super Junior - Happy Happy Hurry Hurry Sorry Sorry Cry Cry - because they go just that bit further XD, until it's not so much of a fantasy anymore.

And in that vein, I like Fever's End by Tablo, which is an actual album and not just a singles collection... Well, this is basically American-style conscientious hip hop, right? ^^ Written by the artist singing the lines about his own life, no less! No Tomorrow / Bad / Thank You For Breathing.

Then there's the Big Bang spinoff stuff... I already talked about in the last entry but I'm going to talk about it some more, so please, bear with me!

Gender confusion in Big Bang, SEE: TOP's "my eyelashes are natural not the result of makeup" thing in Knock Out; Taeyang's "I'll prove my worth by showing I can dance as well as the hot girls in this cafe" thing in Look Only At Me; and/or G-Dragon being totally unsubtle as per usual, and simply crossdressing as a girl and making out with TOP in this parody of a popular Korean drama.

(EDIT: Though Korean guys apparently do sometimes wear eyeliner in a non-queer way! I was schooled on this in another forum. Whoops.)

I really like the individual members of this group lol, in part due to drama, and in part because they look outside the closed circle of Kpop for inspiration, musically and lyrically. Taeyang's album is consistently good all the way through. GD & TOP's album is not consistent in the same way, it's stylistically all over the place and there's (seemingly) little sense of perspective. What makes it good is the strong sense of narrative, which you can also see in the editing of the videos: Knock Out --> Don't Go Home --> Baby Good Night.

Plus you really can't listen to Of All Days without connecting it to High High or even some of their earlier stuff (that is, if you are conspiracy theorist like I am). Well, I gotta say, it's probably not so good for the actors to take so many cues from what resonates with the audience, to the point where it encroaches on your sense of self (my take). But of course I/fandom do like this kind of fanservice, even if (in my case) we don't like the boyband-ness, which is why I like the GD & TOP record, because it is all the same stuff without the boyband.

But if you are going to be a boyband, you might as well be an unhinged one, am I right??? (Re that song: to complement the live version I linked to last time, here is an amazing remix by tzechar. And here is more stuff by tzechar, which is equally !!!! This person, whoever he/she is, has a really good eye for emotion, I think.)

In conclusion, if this group can raise visibility/tolerance, in Korea and elsewhere, for non-standard gender expression, "real gay" and "real manic depression" (as opposed to their fantasy versions), that can really only be a good thing, I think.


BTW, here are some older kpop acts I found trawling Ytube:
OneTwo: Shake Your Booty / Starry Night / Very Good
Ibadi: Chococat / Never Ending Story / Yearning

Ahhhh, that's relaxing. I'll stop there. :D
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January 2013


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