Monthly Archives: January 2016

Thank you, Xavier Woods

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As I mentioned before, I was reluctant to buy Block B socks because my feet are really big. But then I saw this vitally important story in Asian Junkie about how professional wrestler Xavier Woods has Shinee socks. My feet are really wide, so I often wear men’s shoes,** but I’m only a men’s size 7, so I figured that if a man with Woods’ build could fit his feet into a pair of K-Pop socks, so could I.

And I could!

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What’s great about these is that the silver thread is actually metallic, so the jewelry is all sparkly. I’m not going to argue that they’re well-made (I had to snip off quite a few threads), but they are warm!

** Just a bit of advice if you, too, are a woman with wide feet: Even if the ball of your foot is really wide, women’s heels are typically much narrower than men’s heels, so if you buy men’s athletic shoes they can be too roomy and slip around on your feet. If an exact fit is important, it’s worth it to cough up for New Balance or the like.

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Man, I feel you

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BEEP has HAD IT with these fucking click-bait Zico/Lee Sung Kyung articles!

That last line reads, *NEVER CLICK ON THESE ARTICLES*

Good advice, but I must post my alt click-bait!

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This would be a much juicier scandal, don’t you think? ETA: Aw, but apparently that’s Henry Lau, not Basick, which seriously reduces the juice. I think we should continue pretending that it is Basick, and that Henry is lying to cover for him!

ETA: Oh, and apparently this happened even after Zico addressed the fact that the photo was cropped on Radio Star. (Soompi’s version here.)

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Well, frankly, given the level of shitty journalism this story represents, I don’t expect any amount of clarification to make it go away. These are, after all, the people who took this publicity photo

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cropped out Paloalto, and presented it as evidence that Zico and Hyorin MUST BE DATING!!!!!

Expected news, and less-expected news

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Yeah, yeah, Zico’s doing wonderfully.

This story has gotten so repetitive that fans are reduced to Photoshopping it to make it more interesting. And it’s not like he took the hint and switched things up–Old Reliable hit the roof eight more times after that.

And I will neverrrrr be able to stop updating his Wikipedia page.

Anyway, of course it’s all great news, rah-rah-rah. The main thing I’m taking from this is that eking out those digital releases was a really good idea. The Zico Special Edition album has 10 songs; those songs came out as six separate digital releases, and low and behold, five of those songs have been top 10 hits and every single one was in the top 20 so far. (We don’t know yet about “I Am You, You Are Me” or “It Was Love,” although obviously things look pretty promising.)

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So that was the expected bit. What kind of surprised me today was realizing that BTS’ latest album is still the number one World Album over at Billboard.

Considering the album’s been out and on that chart (which covers sales in the United States) for eight weeks, four of those weeks as number one, that’s pretty remarkable. Apparently this is not only the longest any K-Pop group has been at number one on that chart, it is also the only time a single K-Pop album has occupied the number-one spot for more than one week.

Now, Billboard‘s World Albums chart is simply not a big-selling chart–BTS got to number one by selling a relatively paltry 5,000 copies, and that’s pretty typical for the K-Pop albums that top that chart.

But even if BTS sold only 2,000 copies of their album each week after their first week, that still tallies up to 19,000 copies. That’s peanuts compared to BTS’ Korean sales, but it’s not nothing in K-Pop–19,000 copies sold in Korea would get an album in the top 80 of the Gaon annual chart.

It’s interesting to me because, hey, here’s a K-Pop group that’s actually able to count the U.S. as a quasi-significant market, instead of a market you visit only to drum up press in Korea.

I’m going to speculate that this is because Rap Monster, like Babymetal, has attracted the attention of fans of a genre that is more popular in the United States than Asian pop–namely, hip-hop. His songs with Warren G and Krizz Kaliko got attention from their fans and from the non K-Pop U.S. music press. Then people who were curious about this new Korean guy went on to discover BTS, and voila! Non-trivial U.S. sales of their next album!

ETA: As you might expect, I’m very happy to see the Zico articles in Dazed and fuse–hopefully that kind of coverage will continue.

Prizes are in the mail!

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We had a holiday weekend, so I wasn’t able to put the giveaway prizes in the mail until today. If you live in the U.S., they should probably be there by the end of the week (I have tracking numbers if you need them). If you live outside the U.S., it’s usually 6-10 days to get to your country, and then however long it takes for your domestic postal service to deliver them to you (I have custom numbers if you need them). Everybody enjoy!

Now THAT’S confirmation!

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All right! And if you want to be truly amazed, Officially KMusic actually issued an apology for their shite coverage of this yesterday. Of course, the apology contained a headline that was completely wrong, but you know, they’re trying. [ETA: And here’s their last word on the subject–it is exhausting, isn’t it? At least Seven Seasons didn’t release the news on April Fool’s Day. This time.]

(Soompi went with the more traditional we-just-got-hit-on-the-head approach: Fans were surprised! I’m not sure why, exactly, considering our coverage, but they were!)

So, what happened? In the rebuttal to the original Osen story, Seven Seasons said that Osen got the details wrong.

Now, this is a killer if you’re a journalist: “Details wrong” can mean anything. It can be something really minor (Zico isn’t releasing two ballads on January 25, he’s releasing one. ETA: Ooh! It’s a special-edition album! What fun!) But “details wrong” could also mean: It’s not Zico, it’s not a ballad, it’s not coming January 25 or even in 2016, Zico wrote it but someone else is performing it, etc., etc., etc.

What do you do under the circumstances? Well, if you have the luxury that comes from being in a situation where accuracy is waaaaay more important than timeliness, once official word is in, you update BlockB.com after you get up, eat your breakfast, feed your cats, and damned well feel like it–and then you write superior blog posts.

If you’re an actual reporter who has to compete with other outlets and all that, you write a balanced and complete story from the start. The release is a rumor, industry sources are saying its true, but Seven Seasons is saying that the details are incorrect. There you go–now your readers are informed. You don’t have to be sloppy to get the story.

Now, as a regular person, you might be wondering why I’m always making such a big deal about this crap–they got it mostly right, right? This time? And of course all this stuff is inherently trivial. If your biggest problem in life is that you were expecting a K-Pop release that never materialized, then you have lead a very, very sheltered existence and should be feeling extremely grateful for it.

The problem is that this commitment to being kinda right, some of the time, as opposed to being exactly right gets applied to much more serious matters. Who takes drugs? Who has AIDS? Were there any survivors from that ferry tragedy? Bad journalistic practices results in bad coverage of everything.

P.S. Speaking of bad practices, because of the interest in this solo, that cropped picture of Zico and Lee Sun Kyung is making the rounds again (click-bait never goes stale). So, to keep in the spirit of things, I shall once again share my alt click-bait:

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DATING!!!