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Songs Implicated In Bullying Scandal (Top Singles, Five-Sixths Through 2016)
koganbot
I feel emotionally battered by the election, feeling simultaneously vulnerable and malicious, as if I'll be attacked for anything and nothing and I run constant fantasies of going back and settling old scores.

I've been sitting on most of this list for a month now, wondering what to say. I don't know how this music "plays" among the people most affected by it. I'm also not completely sure whom I should consider the "people most affected by it," anyway: thirteen-year-olds uneasily trying to figure out who they are and what other people think of them, and being subjected to this music, to these vids? Kids who when they listen don't see or hear themselves and wonder what's wrong with themselves for not being like it, kids who do see themselves and don't like what they see, kids who like what they hear, like what they see, don't realize they're being set up, kids who are inspired to change themselves, kids who are just having a good time, um [trying to think of positive impacts], kids who grasp these as vehicles for love, for excitement, for conversation, for adventure? I don't know. Kids who like the way they look when they dance to this? Kids who hate the kids who dance to this?

—Why am I privileging "kids" here? ('Cause they're the ones for whom "who am I?" social choices are still fairly open, and influenced.) Why am I still listening to so much kids' stuff, anyway? (Well, other stuff I listen to isn't likely to produce singles.)

But, age 62, wondering why I'm not finding or particularly searching for good music fronted by people my age, two-thirds my age, three-fifths my age, even half my age; or fronted by male people; or explicitly political from the political Left.

I hardly ever visit the lyrics translation sites,* if the lyrics would provide much of a hint.

So I'm not doing much research, am I? Just sitting around wondering.

Locker room talk: I was molested (in a bullying, taunting way) in an actual locker room when I was a teenager. I recently dashed off a piece for my writers group about how if I imagined myself on the bus with Trump I'd think he was, among other things, challenging and bullying me. It didn't dawn on me to include what was done to me back in my track-and-field locker room. In my junior high bullying piece back in WMS #9 I said something like, "It was all over by ninth grade," but the molesting happened when I was in 9th grade, so clearly it wasn't all over. I don't know if I ever even brought up the locker room with a therapist (until last Wednesday, when I did). Maybe I thought (somewhat correctly) that it was relatively small cheese in comparison to the effect of the verbal teasing of a few years earlier. Anyway, songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided.

From approximately 1963 through 1980 people more-or-less "socially" like me made great music that had a strong public presence. Afterwards, they didn't. ("People more-or-less socially like me" is vague enough.)

This is why I never post this. I'm just... not wanting to put thoughts together. Making excuses, it feels like.

Tension two paragraphs back between the phrase "people more-or-less socially like me" and the fact that one way of being "like me" is having a similar visceral response or aesthetic sensibility.

So, if I were to study old Mayan art and somewhat understand its world and be moved by it, does that make me more Mayan (if only marginally so) than I'd been before? (But do I have any idea whether my being "moved by it" is similar to how the Mayan's responded to it or what they did with it? Well, presumably if I'd done some research I'd have some idea about that, too.)

I get the sense that K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream and is geared towards cheerleader types and jocks more than to the freaks and the greasers (to use ancient terminology from a different part of the world). Also, duh, I don't know what I'm talking about it. Cheerleaders and jocks aren't necessarily more conservative than greasers, anyway, and are often less explicitly reactionary. Also, I assume (not necessarily correctly) that those who create K-pop are living in a Seoul version of Hollyweird, hence a bit more liberal than their audience. I think of particular performers, e.g. Brown Eyed Girls, and video director Hwang Soo Ah, as being vaguely on the "left." Whereas T-ara, for instance, traffic less in the need for some kind of breakout. But, e.g., T-ara's videos with director Cha Eun-taek hardly seem authoritarian or particularly traditionalist, and many of them are very good. (Cha Eun-taek is in the news right now in relation to an emerging government influence-peddling scandal, but not only do I truly know little about it, I'm wary even on my Blog That No One Reads of linking someone to the word "scandal" when I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm mindful of how the simple constant repetition of phrases like "T-ara bullying scandal" and "Clinton email scandal" creates the sense in the broad public that certain people MUST be in the wrong, even when most of the public has no idea whether or where there really is a scandal and what the alleged wrong is. Cha to his credit was one of the few industry people to tweet in support of T-ara (and Eunjung in particular) during their duress.)

"Songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided." (Songs Implicated In Bullying Scandal!)

In the old days, when more people read my lj, at least a few people who knew more than I do would come along and help me out.

Here's a YouTube playlist of my Top Singles, 2016; will continue to be updated. Think I'm probably underrating the Mike Larry and overrating the will.i.am:

YouTube playlist: Ongoing Singles 2016


1. HyunA "How's This?"
2. Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy "Make Me..."
3. Crayon Pop "Vroom Vroom"
4. 4minute "Canvas"
5. FAMM'IN "Circle"



6. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
7. Era Istrefi "BonBon"
8. Aommy "Shake"
9. Serebro "Slomana"
10. NCT 127 "Fire Truck"
11. Wonder Girls "Why So Lonely"
12. DLOW "Do It Like Me"
13. Oh My Girl "Windy Day"
14. Serebro "Let Me Go"
15. Blackpink "Whistle"



16. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
17. Britney Spears "Do You Wanna Come Over?"
18. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
19. Your Old Droog "42 (Forty Deuce)"
20. Serebro "Chocolate"
21. Crayon Pop "Doo Doom Chit"
22. BTS "Blood Sweat & Tears"
23. Riton ft. Kah-Lo "Rinse & Repeat"
24. Shide Boss ft. Zack Knight "Women"
25. Mike Larry "Such And Such"



26. Yoonmirae "Jam Come On Baby"
27. Rihanna "Love On The Brain"
28. Future "Wicked"
29. Snow Tha Product ft. W. Darling "Nights"
30. Kiiara "Gold"
31. Britney Spears "Clumsy"
32. Oh My Girl "Liar Liar"
33. Selena Gomez "Kill Em With Kindness"
34. Martin Solveig ft. Tkay Maidza "Do It Right"
35. Rihanna "Needed Me"



36. Snow Tha Product "AyAyAy"
37. Charles Kelley "Lonely Girl"
38. Blackpink "Boombayah"
39. Mamamoo "Taller Than You"
40. French Montana ft. Kodak Black "Lockjaw"
41. Vince Staples "Prima Donna"
42. Luna "Free Somebody"
43. Jessy Lanza "It Means I Love You"
44. will.i.am ft. Apl.de.ap and Liane V "GRAB'm By The PU$$Y"
45. CL "Lifted"



46. Twice "Cheer Up"
47. Yuri X Seohyun "Secret"
48. Dev ft. Nef The Pharaoh "#1"
49. Ladies Code "Galaxy"
50. Wanna.B "Why?"
51. Oh My Girl ft. Skull & Haha "Listen To My Word"
52. Taylorgirls ft. iamtrinitytaylor "Steal Her Man"
53. Jinco "Tokyo"



*Pop!gasa has a good reputation, though I forget who said so (which makes my use of "reputation" in this sentence a good example of what reputation is).

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Weird, I just posted a singles list and then clicked over to Koganbot to see if you'd updated, only to find your singles list! A lot of overlap, though I have a lot of listening to do still.

I'm having something similar to the complicated experience that you're describing, but with music that my students play constantly in the classroom. So I know how it "plays," but I'm not convinced that it puts me meaningfully closer to the audience (I mean, teaching them does that, but the music itself is really more part of the backdrop; and I still like this music for me and as me, as one usually does I think). Funnily enough the ones they like the most I tend to think are merely OK, and often the ones they think are really corny, or wouldn't even think of as standalone "songs" (like "Steal Her Man," which is first and foremost a video dance craze) I think are great.

I learned of "Steal Your Man" from your blog, of course. I've got more of your stuff than Chuck's because you made a playlist and he didn't.

I notice that my highest-rated video dance-craze track, "Do It Like Me," is only a billion views behind the Whip/Nae Nae song, which was my favorite video dance-craze track last year.

("You" in this comment is Dave, and his list is here.)

Edited at 2016-11-04 12:39 am (UTC)

Thanks for the nudge.

You now have a playlist too.

Only the top 33 so far (and two of those are missing and a third is not available in UK, but that's a higher hit rate than last year - either that or I'm getting better at finding songs that don't use the Roman alphabet).

I've made it collaborative so others can add more if I don't get round to it.

Thanks, Jeff. My YouTube playlist is ever-expanding, too; already has another six. (And maybe I just never learned the Spotify basics, but I find YouTube vastly more user-friendly.) The only two missing from YouTube are the Britney pre-release promos.

Do you have a list of your own?

Not of singles.

I have a Spotify playlist which now has, um, 965 tracks on it (more of a dump of 2016 things I liked or half-liked really). I hope at some point to construct some sort of list from it. Just added "Whistle" thanks to this post.

I can tell you what I'm listening to and enjoying right now: whatever the thing - album? mixtape? - that Tinashe just put out is. Delightfully woozy. Some serious thought behind it too though.

And this is my track of the year.

Okay, free association from my talking about Hollyweird and your posting about Hey Violet (who are Hey pretty good), to my wondering what's going on with 78violet, who recently junked that name and are back to calling themselves Aly & AJ.* So, after all these years, they're working on a new album. Well, they're always working on a new album, and I'll believe in its release when it's actually released. AJ is a cast member of the Goldbergs, as a girlfriend; Aly has a recurring role on iZombie as a friend, ex-roommate. They put out an indie-budget movie last year directed by the guy who's now Aly's husband.

And a quick look at their Twitter shows them supporting Hillary Clinton, opposing the Dakota access pipeline, retweeting Bernie Sanders in favor of immigrant rights, giving support to a ballot initiative for homeless services, and most appropriately denouncing Donald Trump as a bully. For the non-Daves reading this, these positions, while not surprising for Aly & AJ's milieu, were hardly a given, considering their background: homeschooled evangelical Christians who told Blender back in 2006 that they didn't believe in evolution (AJ: "Evolution is silly. Monkeys, um, no").** The Internet isn't giving me anything quick on their current beliefs. AJ did a faith song in 2013, as part of a movie, presumably representing herself, not just the character. The appropriateness of their bully denunciation of Trump is that back on their first album they did a song about being bullied and dreaming of retribution. And my description here of their beliefs and lyrics doesn't do justice to the tensions and complications.

*They seem to have given in to the ampersand, though their Vevo name and twitter URL date back to when they were "and." Also, the periods on A.J. seem to have been erased from history.

**I can't find the Blender interview online (the Wikip link takes us to Maxim, whose search bar doesn't take us to the interview), and the several sites I've found online that quote from it are pretty much just cutting and pasting each other, with the quotes in the exact same order, Aly first and then AJ's contribution, always introduced with the statement, "AJ added." I'm sure Aly & AJ said it; I've never seen it contradicted. Just pointing out that, you know, its ubiquity doesn't necessarily make it true, and I'm not doing much research this morning.

Edited at 2016-11-04 02:29 pm (UTC)

Trump is losing a big segment of the evangelical population -- represented in part by figures like Beth Moore, who vocally spoke out against Trump and Trumpism: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/10/12/the_evangelical_women_speaking_out_against_trump_have_more_influence_than.html

I definitely read the whole Blender article at the time, but it was a PDF copy that someone had scanned and I can't find it either.

Been going back through my old posts on Aly & AJ and I'm surprised at how strongly I wanted to pin them down ideologically given their evangelical background. I'm a lot more sympathetic to "Sticks and Stones" and a little more sympathetic to "I Am One of Them" now. There's a sad anger in both songs that's always been a compelling undercurrent in other, better songs, and at the time I think I wasn't willing enough to see their anger as personal and idiosyncratic rather than fitting into some kind of pat political schema.

Forgot to list Aly tweeting pro-LGBT.

Unfortunately I don't think the segment of evangelicals that Trump is losing is all that big. It's big in raw numbers, but not so big in percentage. A Public Religion Research Institute poll after the bus tape had Trump's support down to 65%* of white evangelicals (compared to Romney's 79%), but a Pew poll two months earlier had it at about 75%, and I'd guess that Trump will get many of those he lost back, as he's getting them back elsewhere (though many such voters will claim to be reluctant) — and actually poll dips often overregister dissatisfaction: that is, on the heels of bad news, supporters of a candidate are less likely to answer public opinion pools, but as their momentary unhappiness fades, poll numbers go back up. My wrist-flick Google searches aren't finding any truly recent polls.

It's @alyandaj's out-and-out support for Hillary that seems notable to me.

Here's a fun piece from Marie Claire about evangelical women who are publicly supporting Trump and secretly voting for Clinton.

*The Reuters poll that was cited in the Slate article you linked had Trump only 1% ahead of Clinton among evangelicals, but I'm guessing it wasn't distinguishing between white and nonwhite or Hispanic evangelicals. And again, it was after the tape, before Trump made his recent comeback. Btw, I think the comeback has more to do with the voters recognizing that this is a binary choice, and coming home to a Republican nominee, than it's owing to the FBI bullshit; though when I say "I think" it means "the people who tend to be convincing to me think."

"I'm surprised at how strongly I wanted to pin them down ideologically."

I've sort of been that way with Serebro, though my word might be "socially" rather than "ideologically," and I haven't come close to pinning them. But the mere fact that they're Russian has me wondering, "What do they think of Putin?" And looking at their dress and demeanor, I wonder, "Are they trophy-wive types, like Melania Trump* (as opposed to being maybe bright club babes who connote experiment and progress)?" "Do women listen to them? If so, which women?" "What do they and their producers think of official Russian homophobia?"

Not that any of those questions are illegitimate. But I seem to be imposing the questions on the basis of very little knowledge: that they're Russian and sexy, when you come to it, and my non-knowledgeable free-associating based on what's been in the American news about Russia, and not much else. It's not the music that's been generating the questions.

It's only faintly relevant to what we've been talking about, but right-winger Michael Medved is refusing to support Trump.

Also, "the people who tend to be convincing me" now seem to be all over the place on the impact of Comey's email bullshit.

*Which also might not be fair to Melania — I haven't done much research into her, actually.

Edited at 2016-11-12 06:17 pm (UTC)

Ashlee Simpson appeared on my Facebook timeline for the first time in half a year with the following post:

"Me and my man @realevanross just finished watching godvstrump let's be #unitedagainsthate . https://t.co/Whrk5PXar0"

I'm hypothesizing from this that she still believes in God and still is a Christian (the latter a shakier hypothesis, and I haven't done the research about either). Would she have once been classified as an evangelical Christian? Her dad was a "Baptist youth minister" (says Wikip), though not all Baptists automatically fall into the category "evangelical."

(Btw, she's receiving more hate than love on the Instagram she linked which has the same message, though not getting a large reaction given her former fame.)

I'm thinking that the battle against Trump has exposed some systemic institutional weakness and dysfunction in the entity "God," in particular a lack of clarity in presenting issues, even if God and various other allies and entities such as the DNC and the New York Times etc. do end up defeating Trump.

Edited at 2016-11-08 09:54 am (UTC)

When this sort of thing is brought up my mind immediately jumps to Paramore. I can't remember any example besides Paramore where two members jumped ship because they felt the band's lyrics were at odds with their faith.

"Chatting on the subject of Paramore‘s ‘Careful’ lyrics, “The truth never set me free, so I did it myself”, Farro said: “Paramore claimed to be a Christian band, and then wrote those lyrics. It contradicts your faith.” "

Btw, I'm now listening to the Katy Hudson all-through for the first time and I think it's really good.


Apologies for responding to only part of your entry and not the whole (will be digesting the whole for a bit longer), but: I get the sense that K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream and is geared towards cheerleader types and jocks more than to the freaks and the greasers (to use ancient terminology from a different part of the world). To unpack the sentence "K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream" a bit: I think the whole apparatus that gives us K-pop is definitely "mainstream" and "geared towards cheerleader types and jocks" given its heavy government involvement (and to get more details I'd have to reread The Birth of Korean Cool, but I don't think "heavy government involvement" is a controversial statement at this point). Given the whole idea of "soft power" and the Hallyu Wave as top-down marketing (propaganda) enterprise, one could even go so far as to classify K-pop promotion as a sort of expansion of the growth machine, and the growth machine from Molotch's first definition of it was cheerleader- and jock-based, in a way. (I'm cheating here, because Molotch specifically said "urban growth machine," and set his definition in a particular spatial setting that was sub-national, and I'm tossing that setting in urban politics out the window to make it fit K-pop.)

However I get the impression that a lot of the performers are/were closer to what Penny Eckert would have described as "freak" or "greaser" status, if only because by definition they've eschewed the conventional route to achievement / adulthood / Making Something of Themselves. Not to mention that idoldom is such a risky business that it makes sense that it would appeal more to preteens / teens (and their families) who are already pessimistic about their chances to get into one of the SKY universities and land a decent white-collar job thereafter. This is in part based on what I know about Infinite, in which I can point specifically to four of the seven being alienated from the traditional intense study -> exam -> university track, so I can't say I've done any specific surveying on idols' family backgrounds and potential alternate career paths. But my impression is that most of them will close out their careers without any sort of college degree, much less a prestigious one.

Idols whose politics seem to hew closer to what we define as "left": SHINee's Jonghyun (not so much in his songwriting that I know of, but he publicized and expressed support for the protest messages of an out trans college student last year, IIRC) and BTS's songwriting rapper line ("Am I Wrong" directly and critically quoting sitting government officials). That's just off the top of my head; there are probably others.

I may have read you too fast -- I'm on my tablet and can't go back to your actual entry without losing what I've written so far -- but I think there's a conflation here between freak/greaser status (outside the jock/cheerleader conventional norm) and political rebellion / "leftwards" thinking ("left" in 1973 != "left" in US now != "left" in Korea now). If I'm right, in myself conflating freak/greaser status with economic insecurity, then the freaks and greasers who enter K-pop aren't necessarily more likely to express challenging political opinions, at least not anywhere where they can be quoted; because to do so would risk biting the hand that feeds them, and their family might well need that hand. Whereas I would guess that the freak/greaser turned musician of the early 1970s was under less pressure to secure the family economic future. (Of course it immediately comes to mind that none of, say, the Ramones came from families with hefty financial security, and Joey's and Dee Dee's families in particular may have been in particularly precarious situations; whether or not that translated into a sense that the kid had to go out and secure a better future, I'm less sure.)


In my high school the greasers and freaks didn't conflate, in fact hated each other, even if they had a lot in common. To be oversimplistic about class, the freaks were the sideways middle-class and vaguely leftish while the greasers were working class and pro-the-war and racist at that. But this was, like, in 1970, and the situation was not nearly so simple, of course: the numbers were probably more like 70%-30% as to the working-class and middle-class origins of the greasers, and probably the reverse for freaks and jocks. And the more impact the freaks had the more the greasers and the jocks-cheerleaders took on freak characteristics, while the freaks' successors tended to veer glam or punk. And the greasers were succeeded by grits and then burnouts, and many of them switched on the war and some probably sincerely tried to switch regarding race; and the original "burnouts" had been freaks. Or something. I hardly know how it all played out once I graduated. Did you ever see Dazed And Confused? The dope-smoking quarterback in that movie (set in 1976) wasn't so far from the senior class president/soccer goalie in my high school (1972). As for K-pop, I don't know the society, of course, and the economy was transforming so rapidly for so many years anyway. It makes sense that there'd be a tension within many of the performers as to whether they were in it for the art of it or for the money (not that the two motives need to cancel each other out). To switch to 1950s/early '60s Britain, Art Into Pop by Simon Frith and Howard Horne describes how a lot of the Brit art school kids (many working-class) were fed art values* which they took with them into the jazz, blues, and rock 'n' roll bands they were forming. Don't know if there was/is an equivalent in Korea. I've barely one-zillionth skimmed Korean indie. The little I've heard seems pretty boring.

The only thing I know about the Ramones' social background (other than what the words and music told me, which is that the band were in it for the art, and the Jewish gallows humor), is that Joey's dad was Lester Bangs' psychotherapist, which puts the dad in the middle class culturally no matter where he was financially.

*The Who Sell Out is a great example of '50s visual-art ferment finding musical expression in the '60s.

Edited at 2016-11-03 11:49 pm (UTC)

Er, it was Joey's stepfather who was Lester's psychotherapist.

Glad to see you made a playlist of your top singles, which I'm linking here for the benefit of people who don't see your lj.

Creatures of the night with sweet melodies

Have you heard Good Time by A.de, which was produced by Sweetune?

There's also Rainy Day. I don't know if Sweetune produced it, but it has that Kara vibe...

Re: Creatures of the night with sweet melodies

"Good Time" has an '80s Madonna dance feel.

One of the many defects of my list is that I didn't hunt down the No Tiers tracks in the way I have in years past. Maybe after the election. (Not that I'm doing anything active in the election. Just worrying, fretting, brooding.)

Wow these Serebro girls put out some good songs this year. I usually find one or more catchy Russian pop stars every year, but I have very little knowledge of the context of any of it. I live in a country with part of its border neighboring Russia, but I know very little of how their pop culture fits in Russian daily life, who listens to this and that artist. I tried to read up a little in the wake of t.a.t.u - there were a few groups who like them oddly mashed up social commentary, political symbols and shock factor - I remember one who nicked the 'two girls making out' thing but in the videos were these portraits of big leaders of history. Anyway, catchy songs.

I wonder if IU will be political in her next comeback. She's never been afraid to do her thing, but I didn't really know she could do political songwriting until her last big single, Twenty-three, which wasn't political really but a piece social commentary, and very witty at that. Trying to look past the fact that she was 'brought up' in that leftwing-coding Loen pocket she did also do a somewhat risky collaboration with Seo Taiji commenting on some of the darkest sides of Korean history. We'll see. She's definitely both seen in alternative circles and smack dab in the middle of the most mainstream parts of Korean culture (tv dramas, ad deals for chicken restaurants).

Speaking anecdotally I don't know if jocks and cheerleaders make out the most hardcore k-pop fans, the ones who follow artists around. Just a feeling, but I get the sense that a lot of the most loyal fans find a 2nd home, a family in that bond, with the artists and with other fans. Of course you can hear kpop blasted out on all streets of Seoul and jocks and cheerleaders are part of the big general crowd lapping it up too. And then I can't really say I know how jocks and cheerleaders operate in Korean schools either.

39. Mamamoo "Taller Than You"



I haven't done any lists of favorites this year. My most ambitious project was a playlist of J-pop songs with castanets (mirroring the Ronettes) but though I know there are a lot of examples I've only managed to add seven so far https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50tdxFws5x4&list=PLLkaNi6oDBeCFrhfB6m6XWbIXVaNkzNAO

Edited at 2016-11-27 10:49 am (UTC)

Serebro have been consistently good for years, but I don't know whether or not there's more Russian dance-pop greatness where they came from. Maxim Fadeev may just be an exceptionally good songwriter and producer. I haven't yet explored his back catalog.

I liked Nyusha's Naedine, which I think I first heard on an end-of-year ILM Spotify playlist for 2012. Nothing else by her has stuck for me. (She's got a woman-warrior look in this year's video.)

MC Doni is an Uzbek who's now part of a Moscow rap scene.* He seems to have a knack for mixing good pop hooks into his hip-hop.

*Assuming there are Moscow rap scenes. I don't know.

Edited at 2016-12-11 05:12 pm (UTC)

...and then there was Charles Kelley XD

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