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I was just thinking about the influence of Mr Saxobeat in Kpop! Mr. Saxobeat on the one hand, and LMFAO on the other, haha.

The very beginning of "Lipstick" sounds just like that children's song. You know the one. "And the girls in France/They aren't wearing underpants/There's a hole in the wall/where the men can see it all" or something like that.

Also, even though I love the video and have no issues with it on its own, I wonder if it's a thing that Korean girls can only beat up on darker-skinned foreign guys (see also Tiny-G's last single).

Also also, the connection between Eastern Europe and Korea is "major drinking culture"? Like trot music is drinking music, right - that giddy spinning feeling you get at the end of the night when you've had too much to drink. In a gypsy movie, it's the scene in the bar just before someone smashes a glass on the floor, and maybe depending on the movie cuts open their hand, because there can be no pleasure without pain, or pain enhances pleasure, or life consists of both please and pain, etc.

Edited at 2012-10-07 07:00 pm (UTC)

When I was growing up — twas before the moon and the sun broke off their wedding engagement, that's how long ago it was — the lyrics went, "There's a place in France, where the girls wear paper pants/But the boys don't care, 'cause they're guaranteed to tear." But Little Egypt predated even that, and yet still wasn't the beginning.

Ha, thanks for this. Of course you guys are way ahead of me.

For your Austral-Romanian consideration, I submit Milan Stankovic at the Eurovision Finals in 2010, stumping for the Balkans. Op, op, op! Ovo je Balkans!

Edited at 2012-10-29 06:29 pm (UTC)

Don't know if it's got enough Australia in it. But does have certified impressive one-handed handstands, like that Celia video (though the one by Celia's comrade is far more impressive).

Here's "Dokrai" by Andrea, from Bulgaria, also lacking in Australianisms and sax, but combining folkloric sounds, the Eastern-European beat, and what sounds somewhat like the Cranberries' "Zombie." Vid nsfw.


How about Crazyno (pronounced cray-ZEE-no), Musiche, then? It reads pretty much like the entertaining guys on East Europe/Central Asia TV - or like trot performers - to me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAy4L7qvhW4

Eastern Europe videos are crazy-sexual. Like they took the lessons of capitalism and ran with them. I like how this one combines that hyper-sexuality with "I Whip My Hair Back and Forth" (or actually probably "Bo Peep Bo Peep") type insistent repetition.

New link for "Dokrai." Still sounds like "Zombie." Still nsfw.


I love Orange Caramel, but can't stand After School. Orange Caramel are quite funny and fun, whereas After School is too serious and wannabe sexy for me. I think that OC are knowingly cute and coy in a way that seems to subvert the usual kawaii kind of pandering. To me it seems like they're having a hell of a time playing with K-pop tropes and stereotypes and making kind of a joke of them; there's that trot influence and the campiness of "Bangkok City" and "Shanghai Romance" or the unabashed "asianness" of "A~ing" and "Magic Girl". It's something in K-pop that I feel like only T-ara before them have seemed to approximate in their music.

I think that's why the saxobeat/americano-styled beat on "Lipstick" works well with them. It's goofy, a little exotic, and corny. Whether that's just because the beat seems to recall those hits is perhaps a question worth raising, but regardless it's a totally slippery and wild arrangement that lets them cram in all their weird vocal ticks and hooks. Kind of feels like the aural equivalent of them making little heart symbols with their hands or winking in schoolgirl outfits and stuff.

It's too bad the whole album couldn't be like the singles (or have "My Sweet Devil" and "Funny Hunny" on it) because that's clearly the niche Orange Caramel works best in. The ballads and R&B love songs seem to be the total antithesis of their whole shtick, and I have no idea why K-pop labels always shoehorn that kind of stuff onto an album. Maybe that's what's popular in Korea and my view of Orange Caramel is skewed because I'm not a native, but I just think there's a dissonance between their ballads and singles that's more than just "dance song" and "love song".

Despite my liking After School a whole lot, I love your comment. I'm definitely feeling the "too serious and wannabe sexy," which could describe 75% of the world's pop music right now. See what I said to Dave the other week about Dawn Richard, hard-style r&b toughies, and their grimly "sexual" dancing.

I would argue that by now After School's music has pretty much escaped whatever their concept was once supposed to be. I'm not sure what "the Korean Pussycat Dolls" even was meant to mean anyway (nor the actual Pussycat Dolls, for that matter*). The concept of "Bang!" — to me — was basically just plain bang! Never knew if it came out right before or right after 2NE1's "Try To Follow Me," but in my mind it managed to scale 2NE1's mountain and leap above it from there, "Top this!," braggadocio brought in from the days of the mid-'80s Roxannes. (And of course "I Am The Best" did top it.)

"Eyeline" has actual pang, "Rambling Girls" is touching for its desire to bury itself in stomp, "Flashback" is light and lighthearted in its genuinely sexy siren call, more so than any American equivalent I can think of. But only since the middle of last year, with the Red and Blue flipsides, have After School been reaching me with any consistency.

Agree that when the ballads appear the Orange Caramel album goes to the doldrums, even if tedious ballads are a pop music tradition. T-ara are the only group whose ballads seem of a piece with their dance-pop, are slower and achier but are still a dance rather than a slog. Similar to how T-ara's raps follow up the rhythm and repetition of their nonraps rather than being an announcement of cred.

*Though their "Halo" beats Beyoncé's; their one emotional moment, don't know where it came from.

it's a totally slippery and wild arrangement that lets them cram in all their weird vocal ticks and hooks. Kind of feels like the aural equivalent of them making little heart symbols with their hands or winking in schoolgirl outfits and stuff.

This is a tremendous description; "Lipstick" really does feel unfettered and even a little unhinged, yet with no strain. Has somersaulted right into my top ten.

... if you listen to "Bangkok City" and "Shanghai Romance," you'll hear what I'm getting at: those two tracks sound like what an Italodisco producer would have created had he wanted to signify "East Asia."

Have you heard Funny Hunny? It's a collaboration between Orange Caramel and a songwriter called Cho Young-Soo, and like you said about those songs it has a trot-ish rhythm. The blurb on the MV describes it as a "funky retro song of the 80s euro disco".

Final track on the new Miss A EP goes for a bit of trot too.

Being fairly new to K-pop, I don't really know if this is a trend, K-pop pulling trot into the mix. Did Super Junior-T have an impact? They seem more defined as a trottish novelty than do Orange Caramel and the like, who seem to be treating trot as a potential ongoing element that could be belong to K-pop just as much as any other element does. Super Junior-T's version of "The First Train" is limpid and dull compared to LPG's, though I get a kick out of Super Junior T's "Rokkugo."

It's belatedly occurred to me that "Japanese Boy" by Aneka is probably the prime example of the kind of musical Orientalism you were talking about.

(Further examples: just about anything by Shanadoo.)

I like these. I definitely need to learn more, especially about Shanadoo.

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