Monthly Archives: August 2016

I’m going to translate some netizen comments!


(I do feel like it would be better for me and my blood pressure if I stopped following this story, but I guess I feel kind of obligated at this point. Or maybe I’ve just developed a new bad habit?)

Zico appeared on Radio Star and talked about his relationship with Seolhyun–full translation here. (This time the story was a big deal in the Korean K-Pop press, by the way–it’s so much easier to cover something when all you have to do is turn on the television, right?)

NetizenBuzz translated the hate from Korean to English, which is her job (ETA: if you want to read non-hate K-netz comments and remind yourself that not everyone is horrid, look here), but I figured I should perform a further service by translating it once again from Hater English into Non-Crazy Person English. This way you can enjoy the full profundity of their high-minded thoughts. Here goes!

Article: ‘Radio Star’ Zico, “I took a liking to Seolhyun without reason, I didn’t play hard to get with her” confession

Source: Naver

1. [+5,494, -120] SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!


[T/N: Do you realize that there is an entire K-netz “analysis” of their relationship–which, naturally, is super-easy to do when you don’t know either person–that claims that Zico never, ever picked Seolhyun up?

13734326_1032191840228835_173133072_n daddeea4db6c01c4674506add7e01674_99_20160810113304 99d1300dfcd8d4966c3c74f4859ce3c4_99_20160810113304

I mean, it would be dumb anyway to attempt to analyze a relationship based on what photos a media outlet chose to make public, but you know: THERE HE IS. PICKING HER UP. IN A CAR.

Not sure why that matters so much to people, but anyway….]

3. [+3,979, -113] I’m going to pretend that the double standard never came up because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

4. [+3,737, -249] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

5. [+650, -34] I’m having trouble living vicariously through these celebrities because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

6. [+615, -24] SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!


8. [+428, -17] I’m going to pretend that Zico didn’t confirm the relationship because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

9. [+477, -34] The relationship won’t last because SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!

[T/N: I find the predictions that the relationship won’t last to be rather calculating. The thing is, most relationships don’t last–be they celebrity relationships or no–so if you predict that a relationship won’t last, you’re likely to be right.

But if you say that the relationship won’t last because of X, and then the couple breaks up–well, you haven’t actually proved that the break-up was caused by X. You are, however, setting yourself up to be a smug asshole who claims to know everything about the private lives of a bunch of complete strangers–you know, because you were “right” that one time.]

10. [+367, -11] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

11. [+386, -21] SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!! And it’s Zico’s fault that I’m calling her that, because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

12. [+319, -12] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

13. [+369, -33] SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!

14. [+366, -44] ZICO IS A CAD!!! AND SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!

15. [+339, -35] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

Source: Nate

1. [+345, -17] I’m going to pretend that Zico didn’t confirm the relationship because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

2. [+257, -17] ZICO IS A CAD!!!


4. [+30, -3] I’m going to pretend that Zico didn’t confirm the relationship because ZICO IS A CAD!!!

5. [+28, -0] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

6. [+21, -4] My father’s 55 and has a creepy obsession with a woman who is 30+ years younger than he is. I post about this online because I am too stupid to realize who this reflects badly on.

7. [+18, -0] ZICO IS A CAD!!!

8. [+13, -4] SEOLHYUN IS A WHORE!!!

ETA: And you know, if you’re feeling WAY too aggravated, watch Ten here doing an amazing job on Hit the Stage. A much-needed reminder for me today of why I bother with the bullshit.


Zico looks twelve!


I’m sorry, but:









I think this was all part of a cunning plan to reduce the number of uncomfortable questions Zico would be asked about Seolhyun. I get points if Radio Star goes like this:

Radio Star host: So, why did you have a beautiful woman running into your house all the time late at night?

Zico: We play Magic: The Gathering!

Radio Star host: You play what-the-what, now?

Zico: Magic: The Gathering! I don’t mean to brag, but I have a lot of foil cards. More even than my brother!

Radio Star host: You know, for some reason, I believe you….

It’s always interesting to watch this unfold


We’re having a bit of a Korean K-Pop press vs. English-language K-Pop press divide over the whole Zico dissing his haters story, and I though I’d get into that for a bit.

For starters, I wanted to point out that, although there were English translations coming out on Twitter within a few hours of the performance, the English-language K-Pop press didn’t touch it until almost a day had gone by.

Why not? Because the Korean K-Pop press didn’t touch it until almost a day had gone by, so yeah–the English-language sites are always piggybacking off the Korean, uh, “reporting.”

But why didn’t the Korean K-Pop press cover it when it happened? Well, given their work ethic, I’m going to assume that’s because Zico didn’t Tweet or Instagram it, so they actually had to look something up online or something.

In contrast, today Jun Hyun Moo did Instagram this:

and it got just about as many stories–in the Korean K-Pop press.

So, if you’re wondering again if this sort of thing is representative of the Korean public at large, the answer is still NO. These are a minority of crazy people, and lo and behold, they persevere in their craziness despite the problems it causes them in Korean society.

Indeed, given how this was pretty much a nothing story in Korea but a HUGE story in the international K-Pop media, I think international fans could stand to ponder a bit about who, exactly, are the people who are abnormally obsessed with K-Pop idols’ private lives?

* * *

Another thing that I’ve seen some international fans adopt is the Korean hater line that, if only the couple didn’t do _____, they wouldn’t be receiving all this hate.

For starters, the notion that there’s aaaalllllllllllll this hate out there coming from everybody in Korea has pretty much been debunked given the exposure of organized hate campaigns undertaken by small numbers of people. There’s a reason that most of these hate campaigns come to nothing!

But the other thing is that this is a very, very common line adopted by abusers: If only you would pick up your room, I wouldn’t have to hit you with my belt. If only you weren’t so pretty, I wouldn’t have to follow you around everywhere you go. If only you didn’t act so gay, I wouldn’t have to attack you with a baseball bat.

It’s not Korean culture, and it’s not K-Pop culture: It’s a bullshit excuse concocted by abusive people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions.

And there’s not something celebrities can do to avoid this, because the problem is with the haters, not the couple. I mean, I keep seeing Zico/Seolhyun compared to Choiza/Sulli, in spite of the fact that Sulli is still being very actively hated upon. And now people are throwing U-Kwon/Sunhye into the mix–really? Are they supposed to be a couple that hasn’t had these problems? Honestly, Choiza/Sulli and U-Kwon/Sunhye have had enough hate thrown at them to fuel a pogrom–and it doesn’t matter what they do.

People who hate can always find a reason–always. Think about it: Why the fuck should a couple worry about how complete strangers judge the appearance of their relationship? Why is that the most important thing? A relationship is not a performance, and the opinion of outsiders really should not mean much.

Local thug Zico knocks Crush down!


At the 2:55 mark, people!

Fine, have some attention! He’s trying so hard to act like none of this affects him!

ETA: Oh, and he dissed his haters onstage! Awesome!!!

Thoughts on vocal technique


Kpopalypse did a post recently where he brought up one of his big pet peeves: People putting an enormous emphasis on vocal technique. He’s written about this many times–basically his attitude is that vocal technique developed back before projection technology existed, and now (unless your voice is going to shit) it’s unnecessary.

And he said something in his recent post that really struck a chord with me:

[Park] Bom’s weakness is also her greatest strength – she sounds unique and interesting even on ballad material precisely because she’s just not capable of doing it right.

I really object to the idea that good vocal technique = good singing, in part because I’ve seen what an obsession with vocal technique does to people’s musical judgement.

When my parents got older, they got very, very into performing classical choral music. On the whole, this was a good thing: They would do these tours (which they paid for–they weren’t that good) where they’d perform in Asia and Europe–I even saw them at Carneigie Hall.

Since they were performing European choral music, my father especially got hugely into vocal technique. This was helpful to him as a singer of this particular genre of music–he was able to expand his range and all that good stuff.

But it really contributed to a closing of his mind to vocals that were not very strictly in the tradition of European classical music. So this:

was not a classic of American country music, it was Willie Nelson singing through his nose. Which meant it sucked–along with all American country, blues, pretty much all traditional music from all parts of Asia, etc., etc., etc.

The focus on vocal technique also blinded my father to what singers did well–Exhibit A being Frank Sinatra. Now, according to my father (and I’ve certainly heard this from other people), Sinatra at one point had a “good” voice.

And it’s true–for about five minutes in the 1940s, Sinatra had a very sweet voice, and he was positioned as a cute and innocent K-Pop–I mean, teen idol. (Mafia connections? What Mafia connections?)

He did very well for those five minutes. And then the teenagers moved on to the next thing, and Sinatra’s career went straight into the toilet.

His reaction to this was the same as his reaction to everything else: intense rage. He did manage to channel some of this rage into a productive channel, though–Sinatra figured out how to resurrect his career.

And he did this in spite of the fact that his voice had “gone bad.” He had lost his sweet voice, but instead of focusing on good vocal technique (relax the throat!) in an attempt to get it back, he deliberately roughed his voice up more, worked on his phrasing, and created the signature Sinatra sound we all know today.

None of that mattered to my father. The popularity of Sinatra after his voice “went bad” was a complete mystery to him. As far as he was concerned, the general public just needed to be better educated so that they wouldn’t enjoy it any more.

Vocal technique obviously affects vocal sound, which is why people can listen to your voice and criticize your technique. But–and this is what these people don’t want to tell you–it also means that if you practice “good” technique, you may end up with a voice that doesn’t fit a particular song or even an entire genre or tradition of music!

Try a thought experiment: Imagine the “good” Sinatra voice from “You’ll Never Know” on “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town),” and decide whether or not that would improve the song. Or you go see one of the more-famous opera singers out there (who all have top-notch vocal technique) do a solo show. After doing a fantastic job on a bunch of very difficult opera songs, they often wind down their concert by doing some “easy” show tunes or soul songs.

This is an excellent time to leave early and avoid the rush. I have seen some very famous opera singers completely fuck up some very good non-opera songs with all their “marvelous” vocal technique.

Or let’s take a K-Pop example: Taeil. Taeil gets dinged all the time for straining his voice–screaming, shrieking, whatever. And he has had issues with his voice going out, so sure, this could be a problem for him somewhere down the line.


What about the song? Would a more “relaxed, opened, supported and even resonant sound” work with this particular song? Or would it be like the “good” Sinatra voice on “Chicago (That Toddlin Town)”?

Look at the Luna and Taeil versions of “It Was Love.” Luna of course was very good, but her version of the song wasn’t something I was particularly crazy about, precisely because she was so, you know, “good.”

Are we supposed to buy that she’s upset over anything? Or passionate? Or that her heart is running wild? Or that she’s going crazy?

Of course Luna used excellent vocal technique–that’s the problem! When people are actually emotional, they don’t sing very well.

Which was why I liked Taeil’s version so much better–yes! for the very reasons other people hated it! He stresses and strains! His vocal technique is poor! It’s like he can’t do himself justice!

It’s like he’s actually upset. This is a guy who can get tears streaming down his face during rehearsals.

But emotive quality does not equal vocal technique, so yeah–I guess it must suck, and this isn’t some arbitrary and narrow definition of “good” that people pounce on to justify their personal preferences. Good to know….

This is really a shame


In spite of the fact that it’s been really popular in China, The Collaboration has been canceled halfway through its scheduled 10-episode run. (Because you know who has a ton of influence over U.S. military policy? Korean pop idols, that’s who.)

So watch the last Zico/Hu Xia performance here and get bummed out. It looks like subbed episodes are here, so you could watch them, witness of the full glory of what was a highly entertaining and fun show featuring a bevy of delightful and talented individuals, and get even more bummed out.

But they will never take away the memories…or the dorkitude.

ETA: Man, I hope the live show in Busan isn’t affected–ugh, this sucks!

EATA: Fuck me–it’s off the schedule. Shit!