Cute Butch People w/ Sparklers (Top 60 Singles, 2015)
Those enticed here by the promise of butch and sparklers may be disappointed that the title pretty much only applies to the Dev vid — though I've not looked so thoroughly as to guarantee you won't find butch and sparkle throughout.

"Born To Wub" was another prospective title; it too only really goes with the Dev track.

Next year I'll just post my favorite Dev song, and announce, "Dev Contains Everything."

Was also thinking of calling this, "You Already Know Who It Is"; I've made this list into a YouTube playlist, and those are the words Silentó introduces himself with, on the first track.

And after all, you already knew I was gonna give you Dev, and T-ara, and K-pop. In 2012 I simply called my half-year list, "More Songs From K-pop, Dev, and Cassie." A year earlier I'd called it "Dev Like Cassie."

But there's also wub in Vince Staples' "Norf Norf": wobble that's disembodied from a beat. And there's wub deep in Ash-B's larynx.

1. Silentó "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"
2. Ash-B "매일"
3. The Seeya with Le "The Song Of Love"
4. Azin "Delete"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"
6. Dev "Parade"

7. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
8. Crayon Pop "FM"
9. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
11. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
12. Ash-B "What's Real"
13. Daphne And Celeste "You And I Alone"
14. SHINee "View"
15. Ash-B "누구야"
16. 4minute "Crazy"
17. Jason Derulo "Cheyenne"

18. Lil Mama "Sausage"
19. The-Dream "Cedes Benz"
20. BiSH "BiSH: On A Night When Stars Are Twinkling"
21 through 40, KISS n Clover Z through BrigitteCollapse )
41 through 60, A$AP Rocky through Oh My GirlCollapse )

I've scattered Ash-B tracks all through the list, like dandelion seeds. Can't find English translations, so the adventure for me is her voice. She begins "매일" with darkly insistent eighth notes, then she's pushing the main beat hard, then she's relaxing into the conversational, which she's then pushing into even more insistence.

There were no Cassie singles, so Sofi De La Torre was awarded the Cassie Ventura Honorary Remote-Achiness Fellowship for 2015.

"Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" at number 1 demonstrates the influence on this list of the elementary-school gym class. See also "Hit The Quan" at number 54.

See also the fact that this list is three months late.

Taylor, Kendrick, Pungdeng-E, Derulo, SHINee, cultural interpenetration?Collapse )

The James Brown problematic
I posted this in response to Mat and AG at the SNSD Free For All, their sense that, at the moment, Japanese pop music is allowed more chord changes than American is. (dubdobdee has pointed out to me via email that "Death Rock 2000" wrestles* with some of the integration-coalition-collage-disparity-collision ideas I was juggling in the air in my previous two posts.)

I barely know anything about Japanese pop, and not all that much about current American pop either, actually. But I think the James Brown problematic that I set forth back at the start of "Death Rock 2000" may be relevant: the more syncopated your supposed "background" parts are (drums, bass, rhythm guitar), the more your supposed "foreground" (vocals, leads, melodies) has to adapt to and intertwine with the background; this lessens or gets rid of the distinction between foreground and background.** To be a bit simplistic here, when you truncate or cancel the melody, you tend to be getting rid of chord changes as well.

It isn't that James Brown wasn't interested in melody — all the evidence is just the opposite! — but that he was also trying to do other things, and these other things limited his options.

I don't know if "syncopated" was the right word above, but anyway: funk. But funk isn't the only relevant melody suppressor: Brown also pushed his songs towards call-and-response. You can hear in this live version of the melody-rich "Prisoner Of Love" how, at about the two-minute mark, after lovingly taking care of the melody, James abandons it to go call-and-response over a single chord. Really, what he does is to take the couplet "I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner" and use it as a wormhole, crawling into another world. You can hear this in incipient form at the end of the single version, which fades out into an implied never-ending groove.

This is one "solution" to the "problem," to segregate the melody sections and the groove sections, or the melody sections and the call-and-response sections. This was done in Cuba in the development of forms like the mambo; in American pop, it's become kind of standard to have a chorus-length call-and-response towards a track's end. Of course you can put things into separate songs, melody song here, groove song there.

There are other interesting analogues to the James Brown problematic. E.g., Bob Dylan would take a line in a song and vamp on it, making the vamp longer in each consecutive verse. (As with "syncopated," I don't know if "vamp" is the right word.) Fascinating are the Kinks, who in the mid-Sixties were inspired by the Beatles to go more melodic and by the Yardbirds to go towards drones and rave-ups, which tended to be less melodic, more groove, and so the Kinks tried to do both at once — or at least tried to be less segregated into "melody part" and "rave-up part": in "Situation Vacant," you can hear at 1:12-1:20 how there seems to be a hard-rock groove that wants to explode out of the song but is held in check, then at 1:57 it actually does get the bit between its teeth, and it's off and running into a full rave-up at 2:20, fading out into a false ending and then returning at 2:55 as if to say "This could go on forever," as poor lead character Johnny falls perpetually downwards.

I'm curious what else is going on in Japanese music. I can't imagine that all Japanese dance tracks or rap tracks are chock full of chord changes.

I think in America the tendency isn't so much anti-melody or anti-chord changes, but just that the prominence of hip-hop and dance tends to suppress melody in favor of beats. But it isn't because audiences are going, "Oh, there's too much melody and too many chord changes." I assume they'd be fine with lots of melody and changes. It's that they're drawn to the interesting rhythms, which throws us into the problematic. E.g., where's the room for melody and changes in "Hit The Quan"?

From "Death Rock 2000":

So even the hard funk of Funkadelic and Kool and the Gang had a somewhat straighter groove, and in hip-hop and r&b you always—until recently—had a loud drum nailing down the backbeat, or even a one-two-three-four (the more discofied r&b), with the song or rap back on top and most of the funk relegated to the bass guitar or bass keyboard. With the backbeat/one-two-three-four anchoring whatever was on top, some of JB's propulsive tumble was lost. So I think the tension in much of the world's music in the next century will be: "We don't want to give up song form or the Euromelody tradition, or we don't want to give up an out-front rap, or an out-front guitar solo, or an out-front wall of noise, or an out-front dance collage, or _________ (from whatever music tradition), yet we also want to have the tumbling funk and never-ending groove, so what do we do?" I hope it stays a problem. I can't imagine it being "solved."
But I don't think U.S. pop is more into the rhythm-and-melody problematic now than it was in 2000. In fact, I'd say I was hearing more rhythm risks then than I am now, though I was paying more intense attention then than now, too.

*I'd say my Disco Tex Essay wrestles with 'em even more, especially the "Bob Dylan plays mambo" ruminations.

**Btw, it was JYP joking around w/ James Brown poses and foreground-background that inspired my first K-pop post.

Unity in kaboom!
I'm implying at the start of my last post that at least some of the Airplane's visceral excitement comes from how the different personalities/musical elements often sound on the verge of falling apart or exploding into conflict. If you put them too close they annihilate each other, too far apart they're inert.

Don't want to make this Airplane versus Bowie and Roxy, given that most observers never notice the many similarities. But with Bowie, I get an emotional kick from his intentions more than his songs (bear in mind, though, that I know his intentions only through the songs, so obv. the latter deserve some of the credit — cf. my liking Springsteen the person more than his music, but of course most of what I know of the person is through the music). He's got a potentially exciting choice of musical elements. Where I'm claiming (not very clearly) that Jefferson Airplane's parts were better "integrated," this is based on my feeling that in Bowie and Roxy the pieces-parts have a clumsy fit but while bumping one another don't generate sparks. They coexist too peacefully.

You shouldn't infer here that aesthetically I prefer confrontation to coexistence. The former is easier to write about, though.

Really, the Airplane's visceral superiority may just be owing to Jack Casady's being a smart, powerful player who takes the bass on convoluted journeys while never losing the groove. But when the Airplane splintered, his and Jorma's particular post-Airplane shard, lifeboat, new craft (my metaphor is splintering too), Hot Tuna, was dull dull dull. (At least the first two albums. I didn't stick with 'em, so they're due a reevaluation.) It's as if they need the challenge of Paul's and Marty's and Grace's chord patterns, rather than Jorma's own more traditionalist and blah ones. (How many soul bass players get to run a slalom course as novel as Paul's "Crown Of Creation"?)

These are all quasi-germs of quasi-ideas that I doubt I'll be able to develop usefully. To continue on half-assedly, an interesting way of looking at Jefferson Airplane is as a precursor to Whitfield's work w/ the Temptations when the latter went "psychedelic," e.g., soul bottom, psychedelic guitar (though I also think of Whitfield as an accidental forerunner of dub, whereas I never heard any "dub space" in Jefferson Airplane). And to Funkadelic, of course. Roxy's Phil Manzanera deserves mention here too, his psychedelic guitar wending its way interestingly through Roxy's architecture.**

*"Spare Chaynge" and "Bear Melt" may be total refutations of my hypothesis, since the former is a pure improvisation centering on Jack and Jorma, and the latter something of an improvisation, and both tracks are great. (I'm overlooking drummer Spencer Dryden here: I haven't really come to any assessment of the guy's work; note that it's his departure after "Mexico" that marks the border between previous Airplane greatness and later Airplane-Starship mediocrity (though "borders" are never so simple and I actually like the post-Dryden Long John Silver more than I dislike it). Also note that I have zero albums by New Riders Of The Purple Sage, whom Dryden joined in 1971.) Subjects for further research are too numerous to detail here, but surely should include KBC Band and SVT (Wikip: "During his SVT tenure, Casady actually taped his fingers together to force himself to simplify his highly articulated playing style"), not to mention three decades' worth of Hot Tuna.

**And let us not forget Rare Earth and He 6!

We Can Be Together
Jefferson Airplane were as much a coalition as a band, and at moments they could be the most exciting and poignant coalition/band/group in music. And at moments they were breaking in pieces, and sometimes those moments coincided.

Paul Kantner, as one of their weaker singers, the guy who wrote harmony songs, not just leads, was the one who tried to get everybody singing and playing at the same time, if not always in sync. "We Can Be Together" sounds too ferocious and has too much desperate posturing for a we-should-be-together song, which is appropriate, as neither band nor scene is going to hold together much longer.* Kantner's the one who tries hardest and longest to keep the ideals real.

*That's why I'm embedding it. Of the Kantner-only writing credits, I like "The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil" and "Crown Of Creation" just as much, but the latter is too focused for what I'm trying to say, and too much of a take-down of a "them" rather than a wrestling with a difficult "us." The former has too much optimism. Its "You and me we go walking south, and we see all the world around us" changes in a few months ("House At Pooneil Corners," co-written with Marty Balin) to "You and me we keep walking around/And we see all the bullshit around us." "We are leaving, you don't need us," on "Wooden Ships" comes a few months after that (by Kantner and Steve Stills and David Crosby), same alb as "We Can Be Together" and is just as much posturing and just as desperate. Backs against the wall so we retreat to fantasy, 'cause the wall's not coming down.

"I can carry my friends and I do when I can, we get by however we can."

Paul Kantner, March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016.

(I didn't stay listening to Kantner and crews much beyond 1972, if any of you would like to point me towards what's most interesting in what came after.)

"I've never been referred to as 'cold steel' and I certainly don't hate it"
Brie Larson just won "Best Actress In A Drama" at the Golden Globes. I haven't seen the movie,* but this makes me happy because she'd impressed me a lot as a writer and singer back in the teenpop days; I'd subscribed to her semi-fanzine and regularly read her witty MySpace. She was personable and very smart in an interview by my buddy David Cooper Moore in Stylus in 2007.

Bunnies, Traps, and Slip 'n' Slides: An Interview with Brie Larson

 photo Brie Larson Finally Out of PE cover.jpg

*Room, playing at the Chez Artiste if you happen to live in Denver.

I once got one of these right, but no one noticed
Regarding wiki-illiam, I once got one of the questions right, but no one noticed.

Anyway, he's doing the quiz again:

Psy back catalogue
Some not-so-recent Psy. He's consistently good. Couldn't find English translations for most of these, and don't know if irony is new with him or has been central all along. The various times he says "bitch" don't sound good-humored. Then again, his humor isn't always pleasant, anyway.

"2-Year-Old Wife" ("2세의처") ft. R.Jay, Digital Masta, Small. Title has also been translated as "The Rich Heir's Wife." 2001.

"Yes, I Am." 2002.

"Intro" ft. Ray. 2002.

"Ragpicker" ("양아치"). Title also translated as "Gangster" and as "Rebel." Google Translate gives us "Punk" or "Thugs." 2006.

"Dead Poets Society" ("죽은 시인의 사회") ft. Dynamic Duo, Drunken Tiger, Tasha. 2006.

"Mr. Ssa" ("싸군"). 2010.

Waiting for HyunA (singles as of December 6)
Saw Ash-B's first appearance on Unpretty Rapstar and went, "Oh, no, they're making her/she's making herself sound tough and real and it won't work and she'll lose," so I averted my ears and avoided the show.

To my barely informed mind HyunA is now the dominant rapper in K-pop in that whenever anyone in Exid or 4minute who is not HyunA starts to rap or sing, I go, "This sort of sounds like HyunA but now I'm waiting for HyunA herself to show up." "Red" last year established this for me. (The wait is longer in Exid than in 4minute, obviously.)

Crayon Pop continue to score by ignoring past achievements; SHINee and Wonder Girls explicitly wallow in a past that's of course been implicit all along throughout the genre; most interesting freestylish moment, though, is "Delete," which casually pairs old NY-Philly-Miami riffs with cool autonomous vocals that you'd never ever have heard on an actual vintage freestyle track.

Since spring I've barely listened to anything that isn't medium-old jazz (Lee Konitz, Miles Davis).* So this list suffers, esp. in its dearth of No Tiers discoveries.** I've basically been relying on YouTube-generated playlists for K-pop and on random looks at the Singles Jukebox for everything else. I found Lila Downs via her "Cuando Me Tocas Tú" linked on Jonathan Bogart's Tumblr. (That track and Wonder Girls' "One Black Night" are candidates for my Freaky Trigger ballot, which allows album tracks.)

So, what have you been listening to?

1. Ash-B "매일"
2. The Seeya "The Song Of Love"
3. Azin "Delete"
4. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"

6. Crayon Pop "FM"
7. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
8. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
9. Momoiro Clover Z vs KISS "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
Daphne And Celeste through T-ara (11 through 20)Collapse )
SHINee through GFriend (21 through 33)Collapse )

*In jazz, I didn't like what I heard this year from previous fave Matana Roberts. Sounded like a parody of a 1950s bohemian séance.

**But let me reiterate my liking for the missed-by-me-last-year "Babomba" from the impressively overlooked (and now personnel-shifted) Badkiz.

The cloud giveth and the cloud taketh away (part 17)
There's still an island of boxes in the middle of my living room, so this post is another little placeholder until I create time for a "good" one.

ImageShack took my picture links hostage and threatened to kill 'em all unless I paid money. I said, "Go ahead, commit murder," so presumably most photos on my lj and elsewhere are kaput. (E.g., this one here, Emil Jannings in The Last Command.) Maybe I'll go through and repost a few via Photobucket or some other nonhomicidal enterprise.

 photo The Last Command Emil Jannings small.jpg

Jazz in the last 25 years...
Just checking in so you won't think I've died or cut off my hands. I'm in the midst of another move, from Denver's west side to Denver's east.* Have ideas for posts but I want them to, you know, be good. In the meantime...

Jazz made in the last 25 years barely exists, if you go by the Wikipedia jazz overview — also if you go by my listening, which almost never includes it, or at least only includes music by people who had already made a substantial contribution prior to 1990 (though I did put Matana Roberts in my top 10 a couple years ago).

So, how wrong am I? I barely know what's there, if there's a there.

*Actually, we are inadvertently moving a couple hundred yards into unincorporated Arapahoe County, owing to our not realizing when we rented the place that there's a bit part of Arapahoe that juts east all the way to South Quebec Street. I'd just assumed that the border was Yosemite all the way down.

Adventures Embed
I discovered by blocking Shockwave Flash — which I highly recommend you also block* — that, when I embedded videos using the LiveJournal video template, the video playback employed Shockwave Flash (it wasn't part of the visible code, so I didn't know). If you've got an old CPU, this may have caused your computer to labor. In any event, blocking is easy (see footnote). So is unblocking: all you have to do is click on the red icon the blocker provides, and the video that's blocked comes into view. But from now on, I'll use something other than the lj template when I can.

This is the lj template, which works for YouTube but I'm not sure about anything else:

<lj-template name="video">URL</lj-template>

For example, here's DJ Leandro's "Montagem das Antigas, Volt Mix":

<lj-template name="video"></lj-template>

Note that, when using the lj template, if the url begins with "https://" as YouTube's do, you have to get rid of the "s" for the embed to work. But I'm recommending you not use the template, given the Shockwave Flash. And when you're not using the lj template, you don't have to eliminate the s. And if you still like the lj template's ratio, I've worked out that it's approximately 428 width, 345 height. So you can just take a video site's embed code and insert those numbers. Here they are with the YouTube code (DJ Battery Brain's "808 Volt"):

More vids and stuffCollapse )

So, you can use that as a model and plug in the appropriate video. But since it too uses the slow-loading, high bandwidth Shockwave Flash, you might want to use a newer Dailymotion code instead (though for all I know it also uses Shockwave Flash [EDIT: indeed, it does]). This is the one for Wonder Girls' live "Rewind" (x307uyf):

<iframe frameborder="0" width="428" height="345" src="//" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Yet more vidsCollapse )

Wonder GirlsCollapse )

The disappearing k-pop tagCollapse )

FootnotesCollapse )

Keep Nagging At Your Mom When You're Little (Orange Caramel/After School: Artists Of The Year, 2014)
Lizzy's advice on how to acquire the voice she uses for Orange Caramel and for trot (but not for After School):

Keep nagging at your mom when you're little.
Demonstrated here, with variants here (happy) and here (annoyed)* (h/t David Frazer).

I'm even more behind than usual (mid-year list to come, once again w/ Lizzy). I keep promising research on After School, never get there. So just several adjectives for you:

After School, who were kinda all over in their early years, have settled into smooth vocals, effortlessly poignant, when required, but holding rough rhythms under their hood. One of the few K-pop groups to sound as good in Japanese as Korean. Meanwhile, Orange Caramel's** rampaging cuteness conquers all, style atop style. No social insights from me. Cuteness doesn't play in North America, probably for good reason, but that doesn't mean we're living our lives better than South Koreans are living theirs.

After School "Triangle"

Orange Caramel "Catallena"

*The hashtag is #twang_Lizzy.

**Orange Caramel is a subunit, consisting of three members of After School: Nana, Raina, and Lizzy.

Our friend Nichol was visiting and in the background I was playing the first Seo Taiji and Boys album and Nichol stopped midsentence and asked, "Who are you playing?" Hearing the ricochet electro beats, she said, "This is freestyle!" The mournful vocals entered as if to confirm this, and she added, "This sounds like the barrio."

Seo Taiji and Boys "이밤이 깊어 가지만" translated variously as "Deep Into The Night" and "Through Tonight Growing Late," 1992

Seo Taiji and Boys "난 알아요" "Nan Arayo" ("I Know"), 1992

So, someone who isn't me, without prodding, hears the freestyle connection too! You know, I keep pointing this out, how much K-pop draws on freestyle, and I wonder why more isn't made of it. "Nan Arayo," the second of the tracks I embedded, is often credited (on Wikip, anyway) as the song that created K-pop. Obviously, freestyle isn't the song's only source: there's hip-hop, new jack swing, metal. Then again, in the music press of the '80s, the northeast version of freestyle (New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia) was called "Latin hip-hop" at least as much as it was called "freestyle," as being to Hispanic culture what hip-hop was to black.* The freestyle beats themselves were frequently an elaboration on the electro hip-hop that Arthur Baker and John Robie created for DJ Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." What's interesting is that, while in early '90s America freestyle was basically knocked off the radio and out of popular music by new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b, in Korea freestyle mixed together with new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b to form K-pop, and, while never separating out as a substyle, it's in K-pop songs to this day.**

Anyway, to be precise, Seo Taiji's melody starting at 1:13 of "Nan Arayo," and especially at 1:29 is total freestyle, and the backup there has the sort of flourishes that Elvin Molina and Mickey Garcia could have put on a Judy Torres record in 1987, and dreamy plinks that Tony Butler might have put on a Debbie Deb track in 1983. (You can hear them best at 1:56 of the album version.)

Loosely preciseCollapse )

Tiny, tiny people
This long post by Steve Randy Waldman has been getting attention in the econ blogosphere and is a slamming bit of writing that's also clear and coherent and seems to explain a lot.

The two money quotes, so to speak:

With respect to Greece, the precise thing that European elites did to set the current chain of events in motion was to replace private debt with public during the 2010 first "bailout of Greece." Prior to that event, it was obvious that blame was multipolar. Here are the banks, in France, in Germany, that foolishly lent. Not just to Greece, but to Goldman's synthetic CDOs and every other piece of idiot paper they could carry with low risk-weights. In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks. Now, suddenly, the banks were absolved. There were very few bad loans left on the books of European lenders, everyone was clean, no bad actors at all. Except one. There were the institutions, the "troika," clearly the good guys, so "helpful" with their generous offer of funds. And then there was Greece. What had been a mudwrestling match, everybody dirty, was transformed into mass of powdered wigs accusing a single filthy penitent (or, when the people with their savings in just-rescued banks decide to be generous, a petulant misbehaving child).

For the record, my sophisticated hard-working elite European interlocutors, the term moral hazard traditionally applies to creditors. It describes the hazard to the real economy that might result if investors fail to discriminate between valuable and not-so-valuable projects when they allocate society's scarce resources as proxied by money claims. Lending to a corrupt, clientelist Greek state that squanders resources on activities unlikely to yield growth from which the debt could be serviced? That is precisely, exactly, what the term "moral hazard" exists to discourage. You did that. Yes, the Greek state was an unworthy and sometimes unscrupulous debtor. Newsflash: The world is full of unworthy and unscrupulous entities willing to take your money and call the transaction a "loan." It always will be. That is why responsibility for, and the consequences of, extending credit badly must fall upon creditors, not debtors. There is one morality tale that says the debtor must repay, or she has sinned and must be punished. There is another morality tale that says the creditor must invest wisely, or she has stewarded resources poorly and must be punished. We get to choose which morality tale we most use to make sense of the world. We do, and surely should, use both to some degree. But if we emphasize the first story, we end up in a world full of bad loans, wasted resources, and people trapped in debtors' prison, metaphorical or literal. If we emphasize the second story, we end up in a world where dumb expenditures are never financed in the first place.
There were several comments challenging his contention that "In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks." Here is his response:

Of course, as I've said often, I'm not an economist and don't have the knowledge or ability to truly evaluate such arguments. That Waldman’s explanations resonate with me is actually not a good reason to think they're right, in fact is a warning light. Not that it’s a reason to think his explanations are wrong, either. But one of the things that resonates is that the villains in Waldman’s story, the European policy and business elites, created and chose a story that resonated with them and that gave them a villain and scapegoat and simultaneously absolved themselves of the responsibility for examining what they themselves had done and for changing what they’re now doing. The psychology behind their story choice isn’t unlike mine, though I’m not an actor in this story and my self-interest is purely psychological. I’ll also quickly point out that Waldman is emphatically not saying there were no other bad actors, or, for that matter, that there was never any idealism or genuine concern mixed into the elite behavior. The sin he identifies in the elites is their refusing to acknowledge that there was a Europe-wide failure that involved many parties, and that there was a system that encouraged it.

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Tsipras capitulates?Collapse )

Bent torsos and wavy hair
The mp3 blogs took a pass on Badkiz's "Babomba" last November which is why I didn't hear it. Could've made my top ten: it's like T-ara in relentless dance mode — "Sexy Love" and "Number 9" — but instead of those songs' strenuously beautiful love pain it's got high-pitched playground chants similar to those on Badkiz's previous single. Though he didn't produce this, Shinsadong Tiger, who wrote and produced "Sexy Love" and "Number 9," is listed as a co-writer (says Wikip). Maybe that's where most of the budget went, to the song and the sound. The rather cheap video has the band pushing foam in the face of annoying guys, maybe a follow-up to the funny anti-bully moves of Badkiz's first vid, but too crude and slack in its attempt at comic timing. The dancing is greatly improved but still rudimentary, the concept being to bend the torso and wave the hair. Manages to be appealing, in its little way, especially live.

(But on Inkigayo, they were, strangely, wearing hoodies, for a kind of delinquent-cute look, maybe. A YouTube wiseass suggested that this was to hide the fact they couldn't afford a hair stylist.)

Allkpop called the video concept "sexy and funny." I think when you come down to it Badkiz don't really have a concept. Maybe "invention a little outside the box," which draws comparison to Crayon Pop, but Crayon Pop really are inventive. How about: reasonably good voices and they're willing to try hard, with joy (guerilla performance here)? People on YouTube have been creating dance covers of Badkiz's simple moves, which gives me hope the band will continue. Two songs so far, both of high quality.

*"Babomba" also has a sequence where successive lines are started by a shouted number (3 and then 4), a gimmick Tiger lifted from "Hot Issue," the first track he did for 4minute.

The Girl Wearing The Raincoat Is Running To Catch Her Mom
The girl wearing the raincoat is running to catch up with her mom who is already in the house. The girl is going to the store to get candy, then she is going home. The girl is screaming in the park for her mom because she wants her mom to take her home. She is yelling for Daddy and Grandpa. She is screaming and looking for her whole family. Mom said she could play outside all day. Even in the dark?

She is screaming because she is happy. It's her birthday. She was surprised she got an X-box. She is screaming because there was a fire. The box has something she likes. There is a fire on the bed. They gave her a prize.

The coyote misses his mom. He is looking for food. He is looking out for his family. He is really hungry, hasn't eaten for days. He ate food off the floor. There is chicken. He's taking a bath.

My pokey slipped off the rock and fell on his tail and broke his leg.

This is a street. This is where the cars went and there is a hole. It is not a good thing. You can fall in it. You can get stuck and stay down there and be scared. Cars fall in it. People are running and have to take the bus. They went in another car that is not stuck.

The square in the center is where the street broke. When the green lights up, the cars can go. The car gets broken when it hits the hole.

The boy and girl are whispering. They are saying, "I'm not your friend. I'm going somewhere else. She's ugly. She's bullying somebody." They're being rude. They're being happy. They're blaming people.

They are telling a secret. She is telling him not to be this other person's friend. The boy is telling the girl, "I'm still your friend." They are telling secrets about their other friends. He is telling a secret about his grandma. She is telling a secret about your cousin.

The cheetahs are touching each other. Cheetahs have to eat people. They are looking for people. They are trying to hide so they can eat people. The cheetah's hand is on the other cheetah. She says to chase someone and eat him. Maybe this cheetah is the girl and this cheetah is the boy.

The zebra is hugging the other zebra. The cheetah is hugging her baby. The zebras are looking for their friends. The cheetah cub is hugging the other cheetah to help him look for food. Oh! They're cousins. They play together. They're saying, "Roar, you're my friend." "Roar, you're my cousin." "I'm going to the animal shop." "Where are the zebras so I can eat them?" The animals are looking for their friends. They are waiting for play time.

The girl is walking to the tree to climb it. Big tree. The girl is trying to feel if it's soft or not soft. Does the tree have limbs that will help you climb it? In a forest, she is grown up. The tree is like a giant's leg.

That tree is too big to climb. But she can climb by the ridges. She is going to bang her head and get sent to jail. The girl is trying to climb the tree because she got something stuck up there. She was playing soccer with her friend. It's time for her to learn how to climb. She is almost a teenager and then she can be happy.

--by Frank Kogan (sorta). 2015.

But I'm not 14...
Thought my Kim Nana post was one of my most thoughtful and impassioned of 2013. Ended with the great line, "If I'm fourteen years old I know who I'm in love with."

But I'm not fourteen.

Anyway, lots of busyness over the last year and a half, some wonderful, some desperate, but not giving me time to more than glance at ilX K-pop, much less bother with the gossip sites, so I had no idea there'd been a Dahee story until I stumbled on it today.

"Although the defendants have admitted that they did blackmail Lee Byung Hun with a video file of a lewd conversation, they insisted that they did not do this with financial gain as their goal, but rather due to feeling betrayed and scorned that Lee Byung Hun had used Lee Ji Yeon simply as a sexual object, after Lee Byung Hun had notified Lee Ji Yeon of wanting to break up. However, after looking at the KakaoTalk history as well as various documents, it does not appear that the victim [Lee Byung Hun] and Lee Ji Yeon were lovers, and it seems that the defendants had committed the crime for the purpose of financial gain."
Dahee's side was that:

"As Dahee is very close to Lee Ji Yeon, she felt that Lee Ji Yeon had been manipulated. She thought that if Lee Ji Yeon offered the video to a media outlet, she could receive money. She thought that the money the media outlet offered would be the same as what the actor would give, so they requested 5 billion KRW. Dahee was under the wrong impression that this was a normal transaction."
I'm not going to recount everything. Here's the Allkpop tag, if you want to explore. No telling of the story makes Dahee look good.

And this one makes her seem especially bad:

The two girls also apparently planned on capturing a scene in which Lee Byung Hun and Dahee would be hugging. So last month on the 29th, they called Lee Byung Hun to Dahee's home and Lee Ji Yeon's phone was set up near the sink to capture such a moment. However, a chance for them to hug did not come along, so Lee Ji Yeon, who had been waiting outside, came inside and showed the actor the video they had taken of their lewd conversation and threatened him. Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon brought out two travel bags and asked for 5 billion KRW. However, the actor left and reported them to the police, and on September 1 the two ladies were arrested.
The tale ends, for the time being, with Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon released early from jail in March, after six months, now on probation for two years, presumably with their careers ruined. And with daring, audacious group GLAM disbanded.

Anyone been keeping tabs on what Zinni is up to?

Two thoughtsCollapse )

I Look Pretty Young But I'm Just Backdated: Links to Under/Over conference (UK rockwrite 1968-1985)
Links to the Mark Sinker–curated conference, Underground/Overground: The Changing Politics of UK Music-Writing 1968-85. By "music writing" he means the sort of thing Simon Frith does, not the sort of thing Jagger & Richard do (not that you should think there's a gap between the two sorts). I believe but I'm not certain that this is edited down (from about 12 hours to 8).

Participants included Richard Williams, Simon Frith, a host of others, including several of my lj friends (Mark,* Hazel, Tom, not that they're around lj anymore). (this is actually part 4 mislabeled)

I haven't (as of 11 June 2015 AM) had a chance to listen myself. Mark wrote some thoughts afterwards, and there was something of a discussion at Freaky Trigger and a good bit less of one on ilX. I managed to be shocked by how inarticulate ilX was, even though I should know better than to expect anything different.** I got frustrated by the inarticulateness of the much-more-articulate Freaky Trigger convo, too; I'll probably manage to get frustrated by the inarticulateness of the conference as well, when I finally listen. But anyway, old Brit rockwrite/musicwrite does not get attended to or thought about much, at least within my earshot, and for me is mostly terra incognito (of the panelists, and not counting the latter-day moderators Hazel & Tom, I've read a lot of Frith, read a little Ingham in the late '70s, read Toop on hip-hop, and as far as I know that's it except for a Richard Williams interview at But anyway, as to the question, why care now what they said then, that's like asking why learn another language, why visit another country? For the surprise, for the familiarity, for the new view, because it's there, 'cause the past is different and the past is present. Maybe I can give more specific answers once I listen. If Mark cares, if Simon cares, you're likely to care.

I'm the comment-thread era, not the article-review eraCollapse )

Elsa and Anna and the Icicle Dagger (PBS Revisited, semi, sorta)
In 1987 I tossed an insult at a loose aggregation of people that included me, calling us "PBS for the youth." Basically, I was fingering the punk/postpunk indie-alternative "underground," but also worlds and hairstyles and rampages that surrounded it: rock critics, letters-to-the-editor, on-edge heroin poetry zines, the appreciation and appreciators of American eccentrics and outsiders and outsider art, pop detritus, etc. A music marginal intelligentsia. My insult turned out complicated, since having some PBS impulses was better than having none, I decided, and the process of PBSification had grown out of what had initially seemed like untrammeled strength and was embedded in seed form in the most disruptive music of the 1960s; I cited the Rolling Stones in particular:

Richard Meltzer was right: Rock 'n' roll collapsed the distinction between awesome and trivial. Overall, rock 'n' roll could not have been great had it been merely awesome. I say "overall" because, when it comes down to the sound of specific bands, I prefer the awesome-awesome to the awesome-trivial. I prefer the Rolling Stones to Elvis. Meltzer tried to portray the Stones and Dylan at their 1965 peaks as trivial and silly (not to mention awesome and serious), just like the rest of rock 'n' roll. Meltzer was wrong, the Stones and Dylan were simply awesome — but I understand why he portrayed them in the way he did. He was trying to save them. Triviality protects awesomeness. The Rolling Stones, even more than the Beatles, saved white rock from being Bobby Rydell/Las Vegas shit but put it irrevocably, despite all their intentions, on the PBS path. By being merely awesome, the Stones laid the seeds for the destruction of rock 'n' roll. PBS can co-opt mere awesomeness. They can turn it into "seriousness" and oppose it to "fun." The Sex Pistols (who were the Rolling Stones reincarnated thirteen years later, and that's all they were) were a lot closer to PBS than to Elvis. The were better than Elvis, too — the awesome, sociofuckological aspects that made them closer to PBS helped make them better. But, though they saved punk for a couple years, they made punk socially significant hence digestible by PBS. (So do I, by the way — though I’m not great like the Sex Pistols or important.*)

I'm being a bit loose with the term "PBS." I mean a certain PBS head (attitude), which can include a cult taste for shitty horror movies, pro wrestling, African pop, comic books, Hasil Adkins... all this pseudofun is a covering for a mind set that's ruled by PBS. We're making horror movies safe for PBS. We have met PBS, and it is us. I mean an imaginary PBS of the future, with pro wrestling, splatter films, and leftist analyses of the Capitalist Entertainment Industry (scored by a reformed Gang of 4). All rendered lame in the context of our appreciation.
--Frank Kogan, Why Music Sucks #1, February 1987.

I don't consider this the most intelligible passage I've ever written. It was part of a long, unruly essay, in a long, unruly fanzine. For a clue as to what I thought I originally meant, here's a Cliff Notes version I wrote 20 years later for the Las Vegas Weekly (including, for non-Americans, a description of the actual PBS):

The Rules Of The Game No. 24: The PBSification Of Rock

I wouldn't say the LVW version really delivers: missing are the tumult and anguish of the original Why Music Sucks essays, the social life and the social detail, as well as the multiple twists and back-and-forth of my own thinking;** but it does clarify several points, as well as throwing a couple of pointed questions at me at the end.

Anyway, last month, in response to my quarterly list of top singles, Dave in passing referred to my PBS metaphor, which prompted a longer conversation in which I let loose with a bunch of reassessments and qualifications that I've thought of over the years. And lots of twists and back-and-forth. I'm reposting our convo here. This isn't the "PBS Revisited" essay I ought to write someday (I make reference to a 32-page email I sent Dave and Mark where I wrestle an issue I barely touch here), esp. given that what I value most in this interchange are the Elsa and Anna analyses; but it does give some indication as to where such a reconsideration might go. As I say, the PBS metaphor is never not going to be half-assed, and I'm never not going to feel it's essential. Dave = David Cooper Moore.

Kendrick and PBS on the cultural corner, with gentrificationCollapse )

Elsa and Anna go for brokeCollapse )

PBS wrap-upCollapse )

FootnotesCollapse )

Is music up to the task of creating social critiques?
To continue my X-post extravaganza, I put this on both the BLEUGH thread and the Adjunct thread. Mark had brought up Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, and I'd said — based on my unreliable memory — that, to Jones, "Black American culture contains — among other things — a critique of America, and he doesn’t want to see that critique blunted" (e.g., Black American musical practice contains a critique of America):

(1) Any opinion on Sidney Finkelstein? I read Jazz: A People's Music but can't recall specifically what I took from it; and I once owned but out of a combination of busyness and fear never read How Music Expresses Ideas (the fear because, when I opened it at random, I read something along the lines of "While the Soviet criticism of Shostakovich may have been heavy-handed, there was a fundamental truth...,"* and decided I just wasn't up for it emotionally; I'm sometimes very weak). Do remember considering the jazz book interesting and smart; also that Jones/Baraka cited him favorably — notice that for the title of my John Wójtowicz–Leroi Jones chapter I paraphrase the title "How Music..."

(2) A question we should go into — that we're implicitly raising — is whether Jones (as I've perceived or misperceived him) is right, that music (in comparison to, say, books and essays) is up to the task of creating a cultural critique, at least creating a critique that's more than merely incipient.

(3) Actually it's Otis Ferguson and Manny Farber and Andrew Sarris and ilk who really propelled me to the question. The way I thought of it in college was that the two great proto-auteurists, Ferguson and André Bazin, both treated filmmakers' aesthetic decisions (not just dialogue, but what to show, how to show it, whether to cut or pan, what angle to use) as ways of thinking. To put it crudely, Bazin reads movies for, among other things, the filmmakers' attitudes towards the world, whereas Ferguson reads movies for, among other things, what filmmakers are doing in the world. But obv. it's not either/or for those two critics or in general. Anyway, extend to anyone's behavior, e.g., musician choosing to play this note rather than that, singer phrasing this way or that, fan deciding to dance and deciding which dance, person wearing or not wearing band T-shirt, and on and on and on. Question is, does this hairstyle and acting out really take us far in the way of usable and repeatable critique, of effective understanding, rather than just placing us in Spot A or Spot B etc. in various social situations? (Ludwig Wittgenstein belongs here: we can include in our idea of language that it's more than just the utterances/words, it's also the social practices in which they're embedded, including events, actions.) Btw, what I drew from auteurism wasn't "the director is the author of the film" but rather that filmmaking is a series of choices, and these choices, no matter how original or how rote, constitute thought, no matter whom or what you assign the thought to — the actor, the screenwriter, the director, the studio, social habits, the social structure, the zeitgeist — and no matter how good or bad the thought is. Question is, how far does such thought go? E.g., how a cashier goes about scanning bar codes represents thought, but that doesn't necessarily mean one's scanning of bar codes is a form of social commentary, or can be extrapolated into social commentary.

*Can't locate the exact quote through Google books, which doesn't show any general excerpts and is sparing as to what from my searches of this book it's willing to show. The phrase "heavy-handed" gets me no hits. I did find this noxious sentence: "In the Soviet Union, criticism is a sign of the high regard the people have for music and its creators."


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