Category Archives: kpop
You can probably tell my leanings already, and I admit it! I love the big, tragic, dramatic ballads (and stories). It’s like literal soul food or something, it just tugs something inside me! XD It is melodramatic angst, and done well, it is so, so good. There is just something about melodic shamelessness … can … not … resist. !!!
Anyway, I sent my cousin a handful of recommendations and wanted to share with you. I can already feel myself getting sucked back into the Korean vortex… but you have to admit, this genre really does suit an autumnal mood.
Wheesung is a respected R&B singer in Korea, formerly under M-Boat and thereby connected with YG Entertainment (company that houses Se7en, 2NE1, Big Bang, 1TYM, etc.). He has a pleasant voice and soulful tone that lends itself really well to these pop-soul tracks. Full lyrics here.
Can’t breathe, suffocating, as if I ‘m crazy
This guy is a newbie who won one of of South Korea’s televised singing competitions, “Superstar K 2.” His voice is great for emoting and I just love how he uses it for all these little things and contrasts between the verses and the chorus.
2. 김범수 / Kim Bum Soo – 보고싶다 / I Want to See You (2002)
Kim Bum Soo will probably go to the grave unable to escape this song. Perhaps the King of Korean Ballads (which are all presumably tragically minded), Kim Bum Soo sings with sorrow and desperation on this track that became the theme song for the classic K-drama, 천국의 계단 / Stairway to Heaven. Remote control? Check. Tissues? Check. Ice cream and chips? Check. And we press “on”… Yep, still a tearjerker.
1.박효신 / Park Hyo Shin – 동경 / Yearning (2001)
The Co-King, perhaps, of Korean Ballads, Park Hyo Shin has got a voice. It’s deep and cloudy and slightly raspy, even a little stuffy, but his emotive tone and accurate pitch make whatever qualms I might have negligible. This song is kind of an oldie, from his second album, but it’s still so good. Full lyrics here.
Hope you enjoyed this little list! Searching for my favorite lines has reminded me to get back on that lyrics/translation project. In my online research, I came across another girl who compiled a list of her sixteen favorite K-pop ballads. Check it out if you want to try out some more depressing songs! :D
Okay, bye, I have to go look up more Park Hyo Shin now.
AUGH. It’s so cheesy. SO CHEESY!!!
Honestly, sometimes I think K-pop companies need to hire me (or at least someone like me :X) as a consultant for their English-oriented productions.
The above video is a 43-second teaser for Xia Junsu of JYJ’s new English-language song, Uncommitted. And here are the issues I have with it:
1. Please, STOP PICKING words in English that are hard for Korean speakers to pronounce. Especially as the repeated title of the song. See mangled autotune pronunciation at 0:20.
2. Ending shot where the couple is standing side-face to side-face – the expressions don’t match. His should be a lot more serious and smouldering to match her lost one and the muted vibe of the cinematography.
3. Please find someone who writes well professionally for your YouTube channel. You’re setting up how people will understand your entertainer here. Current fans might not care, but any potential new audience you’re hoping to score with will.
4. I’m probably reading too much into it at this point, but it’s starting to bother me that a lot of female figures in male K-pop music videos are non-Asian, usually white. It seems to play into the whole non-Asian superiority/beauty complex undercurrent.
It seems that something always gets skewed when Asian pop stars try to tailor things for the Western market – anyone remember the fiasco that was BoA’s original “Eat You Up” MV for America? Their production values are obviously high, but the companies often take things and run in the wrong direction.
I know I’m taking a pretty critical stance (and that I may sound like a snob), but I always do for these Asia-into-English forays. It’s because the general American audience is much less forgiving when you’re not in your native tongue, plus the fact that I know these entertainers could do a lot better if they actually had some grounded perspective from a non-insider/related-Korean person.
Bottom line: Less yes-men and strangely biased audience predictions, more honest feedback from the internationally minded of good taste. Holler if you know what I’m sayin’.
Finally Part 2 of this playlist for Seoulist is up! The online presence has been a lot more fettered since I started my new jobs and enrolled in a couple of classes. Thanks to everyone for their patience – hope your boy band fire is still going strong:
“Still catching up with the changing faces of K-pop? Get to know the new breeds of boy bands, from TVXQ to B2ST.”
You might recall that, having cut the lengthy list of boy bands in half, we saw a good amount of old school K-pop in the earlier article. I tried to approximate the split along the boy band timeline so that this subsequent segment could be termed “New Wave,” referring to the flood of fresh flower boy faces after a very, very brief recession.
While a number of pop cultural trends settled in and persevered, such as sculpted member roles, bipolar genre segregation/hopping and plastic surgery, the new millennium also saw a few shifts. Alongside the growing popularity of K-pop in globalized society came better dance moves, more polished “American- sounding” music and, marginal but critical, diversified companies. Accuracy of English usage has stayed about the same, though.
Out of the complete playlist, I probably listened most to 1TYM, g.o.d and TVXQ, with a healthy dose of Fly to the Sky and Nell. But before we dive into the music, I want to make something clear.
I know that I’ve poked a few fan girl sides here and there, but honestly, there’s no shame in liking a boy band.
I repeat: No. Shame. (Now, being in one… just kidding!!! Really.)
The songs are catchy, the boys are cute and charming, and they can kind of dance. It’s not hard to see how a boy band easily becomes the reason for breathing, believing, even blinking. I myself will admit that I’ve been there, done that.
Just don’t let the infatuation eclipse your other life and/or last for a period of over five years.
Soompi is hosting a sweet event for Aziatix fans, giving away two tickets per show (minus Austin – sorry, Southerners!). There’s a nice spread of locations and dates available on the official Aziatix website.
Even though I’m not an actual fan-fan of Aziatix, I appreciate what they’re trying to do in K-pop and what they’re bringing to the table. I also think that each of them are talented musicians are on their own, so I’d definitely like to see them perform live. That’s how my friend and I fell in love with g.o.d back in the day!
I recently started a full-time day job, leaving less time for updates and posting on the blog. The job is not exactly enjoyable, which further contributes to the don’t-want-to-do-anything feeling when I get home.
I appreciate do one thing, though, which is that it definitely helps me relate to that feeling of loathing the forced drudgery of an everyday job, and in turn that spurs me in the direction of more emotional music. Yesterday, I randomly but keenly felt like I needed a dose of some Asian tunes.
Usually Asian music is more melodic and unabashedly romantic – if you’re not feeling as positively about it, you might think of it as sentimental, cliche or maudlin. But there are days when everything seems dry, wearied, even bitter. During those times, I often find the surges of emotionally-charged melody rife in Korean (and sometimes Taiwanese,though in a different way) music especially cathartic.
I’m listening to Korean music during my lunch break, and it’s also making me miss South Korea… Oh, Fulbright year, 돌아와줘!
My article on K-pop boy bands was posted yesterday on Seoulist. It’s kind of a crash course with one song per boy band, but due to sheer number still had to be split into two. This is part one, dubbed the “old school segment.” You can read on to get some background on each group, or you can just listen to the playlist compiled on YouTube.
Wow, this is old school in more than one way. First, it’s Big Bang performing the K-pop boy band classic, H.O.T’s rainbow-happy song, “Candy”; second, it’s old school Big Bang, back when Taeyang wore cornrows and before the group shed their newbie image:
Yes, whatever your stance may be on Taeyang’s now-signature mohawk, I think we can all agree on this:
Everyone is very thankful the cornrows are gone.
P.S. SIC stands for “Sharing Is Caring,” the new heading for videos, songs or quotes that I enjoy or find attention-worthy (or just amusing) in some aspect, and therefore would like to share with you.
As mentioned before, SNSD/Girl’s Generation made an entry into American media Tuesday night with a performance of “The Boys” on one of America’s big late night shows, David Letterman. My earlier post announced their initial U.S. television appearances, in addition to sharing my thoughts on how I thought the group would fare and what it takes for an overseas Asian group or artist to make it in America.