Entries by tag: akb48

T-ara's Weird Year
Okay, T-ara's really weird year was last year, but that was merely for what was being done to them in their lives. As for notes and singing and dancing and stuff, this year seems to be one tangent after another. Of course, "Number 9," their new Shinsadong Tiger single, is a return to top T-ara and resumes right where they left off with "Sexy Love" in September 2012. But my actual favorite T-ara product in 2013 has been most-inessential-member Qri's strange Bunny Style b-side in Japan, "Do We Do We," which sounds like perfect piffle from a previous dimly perceived galaxy of Italodisco. Here's a fan vid. [UPDATE: YouTube scotched the fan vid, so here's another one, using a Bunny Style still (ears are... I don't know, but it's not my world).]

The only other track to hit me from the Bunny Style project (10 different releases with the same A-side and ten different B's) is "Maybe Maybe" from other officially inessential member Boram, the song trying to sound equally inessential, could do double duty as a commercial for air freshener. Without the apparent skill she outdoes Lim Kim and IU on the Ipanema tip. The rest of "Bunny Style" is as light and bright but far less engaging in its nothingness. (But I don't pretend to a feel for J-pop.)

(Btw, arbitrary_greay and askbask have you heard this?)

Target, Jeon Won Diary, Bikini, PainkillerCollapse )

So, to "Number 9" and Shinsadong Tiger: he's once again risking one hook too many and using song parts that no longer seem to flow one into the other in the way melodies used to flow back in the Korean old days of two years ago, though maybe those parts'll seem inevitable in their order once they get ground into me over multiple hearings, as finally happened with "Volume Up" and "Sexy Love," in any event seem to fit K-pop's growing formal ferment.

Jiyeon abandons her uninflected breathiness for actual emoting, the brief beginning of which ("neo manhi nal utge haneun") reminds me of the strong cross-ocean ache in Pajama Party's and Brenda K. Starr's "Over And Over"**; the song's passion is on her shoulders even more than Eunjung's, and she carries it. Although for the long run I'm uneasy if this turns out to be a change in Jiyeon's role,*** this time it works in the song's general pitch of T-ara joy and anxiety. To top everything, Hyomin does a bleaty barky thing in a "rap" that once again, typically for T-ara, is more compelling than most real rappers' real raps.

But maybe the year's top T-ara story is Qri and Boram finding themselves in a carefreeness that no one would believe from the others.

Footnotes, Pajama Party, Robert Mitchum, rankingsCollapse )

Minami 2
Starting this second thread regarding the Minami incident to forestall Livejournal's terrifying collapsed-thread syndrome encroaching on the previous thread (here).

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

My guess is that it'd be hard for any fan to endorse Minami's self-abasement. Even those who support idol "purity" and manage to link it to being sex-free and boyfriend-free will have that overridden by the sense that Minami is a damsel in distress. In fact, those people might especially be the ones who will have their "damsel in distress" buttons bumped, and will be genuinely torn.

The rest of my thoughts are about K-pop, since I know next to nothing about J-pop:

Is the no-dating rule all that pervasive?Collapse )

What do you mean by this word SCANDAL?Collapse )

Conspiracy theoryCollapse )

warthoginrome writes:

I don't know if you had the chance to run into this news, so I wanted to point it out, because the topic is common to the entire asian pop scene.

The story is about Minami Minegishi (20 y.o.), member of the japanese group AKB48. A tabloid published some photographs of her leaving the apartment of her boyfriend, Alan Shirahama (19 y.o.), member of the boy band Generations.

As you may guess, Minami is bound to a "contract" which prohibits any kind of relationships. After the bomb exploded, she decided (spontaneously?) to cut her hair and record a public apology. In the video she apologizes to colleagues, family, and fans, reproaching herself for having been "thoughtless and immature," and specifying that "I don't believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don't want to quit AKB48." In the meantime, the agency demoted her from the "senior" to the "trainee" rank, for "for causing a nuisance to the fans."

I don't really know why, but as soon as I saw the video, the T-ARA controversy came to my mind, because I find it hard to tolerate the unlimited power of the so called netizens (better, customers). This is really too much. I know that, after all, Minami is more fortunate than many boys and girls of her age living in much tougher conditions around the globe, but I feel bad for her anyway.
Checking this out myself, I see that American news outlets have been all over this story, reporting that the incident has provoked pushback and even outrage in Japan, people calling the treatment of Minami unfair and saying it amounts to bullying (many people assuming she had little choice in the matter of close-cropping her hair).

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Some American (I assume) commentators at The Young Turks provided their own perspective, and my crap detector says that they didn't actually research the culture, that they're making guesses as to the attitudes behind the no-dating rule. ("You're no good unless you're virginal, you're no good unless you're pure, you're no good unless I actually have a shot at sleeping with you sometime in the future.") But then, I haven't researched it either. And just because they're guessing doesn't mean they're wrong.

Crossing the borderCollapse )

G-DragonCollapse )

Results nobody wantsCollapse )

Korean freestyle Friday part 2: KARA and SOOLj
Mentioned in my last post that Korean freestyle rapper SOOLj has a leaning towards riffs out of the other freestyle as well, the great '80s postdisco dance music from Miami and NY and Jersey and Philly. Wouldn't be surprised if those riffs were all over Korea these days, though owing to the paucity of my knowledge, I've only found a few others, one of them being KARA's bright and lite "Jumping (점핑)":

("Freestyle lite" would seem to be a contradiction in terms, freestyle having been a music of passionate spirit and thick emotion, but there've actually been several excellent pop tracks in recent America that tone the freestyle down to a pang while still retaining the feeling: Vanessa Hudgens' "Don't Talk" and Brooke Hogan's "About Us.")

Call For Papers: Asian Popular Music Conference
People on my flist ought to consider this, as some of you seem to know what you're talking about.


"In the Mix: Asian Popular Music"
Conference, Princeton University, March 25th-26th, 2011.

A conference organized with support from the Department of East Asian Studies, the Department of Music, the Program in American Studies, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University.

Special Talk and Performance: DJ Krush

Deadline for Submissions: November 30, 2010

We welcome proposals on any aspect of popular music in Asia or by Asians or Asian-AmericansCollapse )

More K-pop and J-pop
Some excellent, excellent commentary on K-pop and J-pop (and a bit of Chinese pop) by Anonymous down in the comment thread to my mid-year lists, along with over a dozen video embeds.* Anyway, I'd like to stir up the local hivemind on what you think is going on in these three videos (and K-pop and J-pop in general, if you have any ideas; you're likely to know more than I, are extremely unlikely to know less, and shouldn't feel you have to know what you're talking about; I don't). First vid is Sandara's "Kiss" (Dara of 2NE1). Seems to be a standard, "I want your kiss, but your respect and commitment too, I'm not easy" story (while the lyrics are more "I want you to come through and kiss me," sorta like "Blah Blah Blah," though not really), so it's a flirtation, I'll-love-you-I'll-love-you-not, but there seems to be a cake-and-eat-it-too relationship to us, the viewers: is Sandara projecting strength or availability, is that a tension or can strength and availability go together? (Rapper, not in vid, is someone called CL, I think, and she's good.) Second vid is E.via's "Shake!" and from Anonymous's comments I gather she's really trying to have her cake and eat it too, pushing the envelope, critiquing and putting herself at a distance from the sex sell by throwing it in our faces, while at the same time, you know, still using the sex to sell. Of course, such strategies and such envelope-pushing occur in the U.S. too, and have the same tension and uneasiness, and get force from the tension and uneasiness, as does this. The Latin riffs help too.

Those two are K-pop, the third is from Japan, AKB48's "Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou," with a translation in the subtitles, and when I was in my early teens I'd have lapped something like this up, 'cause it's about a suicide, and I lapped up songs about suicide: "Most Peculiar Man" and "Richard Cory" and "Save The Life Of My Child" by Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins' version of Leonard Cohen's "Dress Rehearsal Rag," which isn't a suicide per se but sure seems a suicide threat (Cohen hadn't recorded it yet; in a few years I made my way to his "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy"). "Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou" definitely plays the suicide as some form of rebuke, though it's complicatedly uncertain as to what the rebuke is rebuking: Our attempt to understand it? Adults with their know-it-all explanations? (Were the lyrics written by adults?) Is it a statement of a deeper wrong than just the dead girl's? As I said, as an early teen I lapped this stuff up - and by my mid teens I'd found Dylan and in my late teens I'd found the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, though this song doesn't romanticize self-destruction to the extent that those Americans did. But it does throw it at us as a brute fact.

E.via Shake!Collapse )

AKB48 Keibetsu Shiteita AijouCollapse )

Click the k-pop tab for other good discussion we've had here on the subject, mostly not by me.

*Also, Chuck's lists and a link to Josh's are down there too.

Mid-Year Lists 2010
Mid-Year Lists 2010

Singles First Half 2010: "Blah Blah Blah" is the big hairy dance-mess that's dancing over the world, while Aggro and Dizzee are the only other representatives here of 2010's dance-pop mess. Not enough country on this list, and at this time of year that's usually my fault, but this time I think it's country's. (Probably not enough dancehall or hip-hop or kuduro either, but vuvuzelas are represented.)

Singles First Half 2010Collapse )

New year's irresolution: I did not begin the year by saying to myself, "2010 will be the year when I actually like a Katie Melua single."

My tracks list (as opposed to this singles list, though with huge overlap) is over on poptimists.

Country Singles First Half 2010Collapse )

Albums First Half 2010: Hmmm. I think I've listened to a grand total of eleven new albums. Now, hearing a lot by a performer can definitely enrich my understanding of that performer, albums at times can feed and grow wonderfully as tracks interact, etc., but I'm swamped in music coming at me from all directions, and I just don't know where people get the time. Here's my list so far:

Albums First Half 2010Collapse )

Video: Here's a vid:

h/t Mat

Some videos, 2009
I had an ongoing list of videos I liked, then back in May I forgot to keep up with it, so here are some vids from early '09. For further viewing pleasure visit Kat's tumblr.

Will YoungCollapse )

Untouchable ft. Hwa Young "Tell Me Why": petronia wrote, "What I'm getting is that the 'interrogation scene' takes place in the head of the male protagonist. His fiancée rejected him, fell into an obvious deep depression and attempted/committed suicide in such a way as to make it seem the relationship was the problem (tearing up photos, etc.), except the guy was basically blindsided - so the rest of the vid is a reification of his warring emotions of anger and confusion (TELL ME WHY YOU DID THIS TO ME) and helplessness at not being able to save the Korean Sylvia Plath from herself (stuck on the balcony watching the proceedings). Why he had to call in a pop group to aid him in the effort I don't know though - presumably Untouchable speak to his emotions during this difficult period in his life?"

Plus vids by The Lonely Island, Enrique Iglesias, Nikki Awesome, Timberlee, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and a new one by I Blåme CocoCollapse )

You are viewing koganbot