Category Archives: K Pop

YUP

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It’s been nice seeing some sanity result from Seolhyun’s latest “scandal.”

But I do feel obligated to point out that, even if you spend money on an idol, you still have no right to control their life. A lot of the commenters criticizing Seolhyun’s haters seem to waaaay too comfortable with the idea that the problem is that these guys are cheap, and that if only they had paid money for Seolhyun’s photobooks and whatnot, then they would then own her, body and mind, and be able to dictate her actions. Not true.

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Of course I love this too

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!!!

And once again we see Bastarz, a unit with two rappers and two dancers, magically showmanship itself into a unit with three rappers and three dancers!

There’s also just a lot to be learned here about doing a cover performance. For starters, they took a solo song and very naturally made it into a song for three people–so much so that I was wondering if YDG had other people on the original song. He didn’t. (I should note in the interest of accuracy that YDG’s song is a remake of this song–which is really old skool.):

Giving the bridge to B-Bomb lets P.O back him up, which both works with the original sound and covers for B-Bomb’s soft voice and limited experience as a rapper.

And they don’t just play up the whole retro-80s thing in the choreography, they actually reference some of YDG’s performances:

So they did a really good job on a lot of levels!

ETA: I have to add that I have often wondered if U-Kwon can still do this:

And you can see that he doesn’t get down quite as far these days–but then again, he’s doing it as part of a choreography where he has to get back up out of it (with P.O’s help) very quickly. So…maybe age is taking a toll on our favorite mutant, or maybe it’s just that it wasn’t practical for him to go down all the way. Hard to say. (Yeah, he’s probably just getting old. I can dream, though.)

EATA: You can get the song on iTunes! (How am I supposed to fit that onto BlockB.com when Taeil’s song just came out? Everyone’s being too industrious!)

E(one more time!)TA: I thought P.O’s rap at the 1:50 mark rang a bell:

Still love this song!

(This post is like a Festival of Tangents, isn’t it?)

Cool performances

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Whoo! I really like this one, I think because they all have the skills and experience to play off each other in performance. It’s that exact quality that I think is missing from your standard idol-group performance, so it was nice to see it on a television broadcast. There’s a lot of good musicianship out there!

(Plus, hee:

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 2.23.14 PM

That’s the kind of honeywand I have! Minis forever!)

And as I was poking through the Mnet YouTube channel, I realized that Penomeco has been hitting it out of the park lately!

Wow! Remember back when nobody would bother to credit him on fancams? Go boy!

ETA: Oh, well, this one REALLY takes the cake!

Interesting

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The Korea Herald did an article on why K-Pop groups are less likely to tour Europe, which is worth a read. Block B and other acts have managed, of course, but it brings up some of the logistical issues (you just need one promoter to tour the entire United States vs. many for Europe) that complicate tours there–and I would assume many other parts of the world as well.

One thing the article doesn’t mention that I’ve noticed is how much more complicated it can be to pay for tickets outside of North America, especially if you don’t live where the show is taking place. It’s super-easy for me to get tickets on-line for pretty much anywhere in the United States and Canada–I can roll out of bed and buy tickets for shows in places like Los Angeles and Vancouver (and if I buy the tickets on my phone, I don’t even have to roll out of bed!)–but that’s not the case everywhere. I think that would hamper sales for a passionate niche genre like K-Pop, because people do tend to travel for those shows.

When the talent end is disconnected from the business end

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G.O, formerly of MBLAQ, did a video about digital sajaegi (via Asian Junkie), which I thought was really interesting.

It was mainly interesting to me because of G.O’s interpretation of what he saw, which I would argue is a pretty business-naive interpretation.

He says (and I have no reason not to believe him) that MBLAQ’s staff was told that, for approximately $400,000, they could be guaranteed to chart #1 digitally for a solid month. And then they ran into a member of 2PM, who said that the same thing happened to them, but the price quoted to be #1 for a month was $700,000-$800,000.

Now, isn’t that pricing interesting? After all, 2PM generally charted better than MBLAQ, so why would it cost almost twice as much to get them to #1?

Hmmm….

OK, I’m going to ruin the suspense and explain why: IT’S A SCAM. Dude, this is how we know G.O has never dealt with the business end of thing–get offers like this, for fuck’s sake. When people come up to you promising ENORMOUS popularity for your work in exchange for an ENORMOUS sum of money (paid up front, of course), IT’S A SCAM.

SCAM SCAM SCAM.

SCAM!

Because IT’S A SCAM, instead of charging more for more work, the SCAMMERS are asking for more money from the bigger company because they think that company will be less price sensitive.

Of course, G.O doesn’t think it’s a scam.

But are you going to get $400,000 worth of that stuff? $800,000? Assuming that they even do what they say they’re going to do with your money (which they aren’t, because it’s not like you can take them to court if they don’t), and that it’s as effective as they claim it is?

The money were talking about isn’t chump change in the industry, either. Team Pinky recently guesstimated that it costs on average $1 million to debut a K-Pop group, so if you said yes to these people, you’d be bumping up your costs by 40-80%.

Yes, of course these people are out there–people like this are always out there. Obviously sometimes people do pay for digital sajaegi. But look at the case of someone who likely did: Nilo. Was he #1 for a month? NO. Was he able to avoid getting caught? NO. Is he getting his money’s worth? Probably not.

If Nilo is the poster boy for your fabulous chart-manipulation system, YOU’RE RUNNING A SCAM!

[deep breath]

OK, I’m getting a little overwrought here, but that’s because it really bothers me when people try to present scams as normal business practices. That’s like raising your daughter to believe that once she starts work, she’ll have to suck cock to get a promotion, because that’s just standard corporate procedure and what all successful women do.

So, why does G.O believe that sajaegi is everywhere?

 

Oh, honey–that’s the industry. Massive ups and downs, a dislocation between fan support and overall popularity–the first thing happened because you worked in the arts, the second thing happened because you worked in K-Pop. There’s no massive sajaegi-based conspiracy needed to explain all that.

What is K-Pop?

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This business is still going on (of course), so it has led to a spate of people going, “Hm! We must educate the masses on what K-Pop actually is!”

Since I am always here to help, I thought I would provide a list, just off the top of my head, of the various definitely definitive definitions of K-Pop that I have seen over the years. I will mark with an asterisk those definitive definitions that were authentically provided by authentic Koreans as being authentically Korean.

K-POP IS THIS AND NOTHING ELSE, A LIST:

  • Korean music in the pop genre.
  • Music that is popular in Korea.*
  • Korean music that is intended to be popular.
  • Korean music that is intended to be popular outside Korea.*
  • Idol music.
  • Idol music and OST songs.
  • Idol music, OST songs, and R&B songs.*
  • Idol music by SM Entertainment.*
  • Boy group music.
  • Girl group music.
  • Music sung by people who are morally pure.
  • Music sung by people who are sexy.
  • Music for teeny boppers.
  • Factory music.
  • Factory music sung by robots.
  • Music that makes people insane.
  • Music sung by interchangeable and obedient Asian women in panties.
  • Music I like.
  • Music I don’t like.*

I hope that clears things up for people!

Lil Zion T Boi

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Zion T came to Vancouver, so I went to see him. Actually he came to Coquitlam, which as it turns out is an extremely Korean suburb of Vancouver. I wanted to stay near the venue, so I’m having pretty much the Full Koreaboo—didn’t really expect that, but it’s OK, I can eat meat porridge for breakfast if I need to. (While I understand that a Korean market in North America needs to differentiate itself from the mainstream supermarkets, I have to point out that I never had a problem finding Western breakfast foods–many actually made in Korea–when I was in Korea, even when I was shopping at a 7-11 in Suwon. And honestly, your only dairy offering shouldn’t be Milkis. That’s just wrong.)

Anyway, the concert was excellent. It wasn’t just Zion T but Lil Boi as well, although at this point Lil Boi isn’t such a baby face. Zion T, though—dude looks 10. His face, his size, his proportions: It’s like watching a child who’s just a incredible natural performer.

Anyway, it was interesting because Zion T is this smooth R&B singer, which attracts a mellower crowd (although not so much an older one—I saw two other gray-haired ladies but then realized that they were there with kids). The venue was seated with reserved seating. Combine those two factors (plus, this is Canada), and the concert started late because the freaking audience didn’t show up on time!

Or maybe they were just trying to miss the opening act? Joke was on them, though, because Zion T opened, did mellow songs, then Lil Boi came in and hyped the place up, and then Zion T returned and did his upbeat songs. Then he did an encore, and then he faked everyone out by turning on the house lights, and just when everyone had given up and started to leave, turned them off again and did a bunch more songs!

Zion T spoke Korean almost exclusively—apparently he’s quite funny, although of course I missed a lot of what was going on. But he had a litany of complaints: He hadn’t eaten, he was tired, his voice wasn’t good, he was all alone on stage, he had asked Crush to come with him but Crush couldn’t (the audience had to sing Crush’s part, and our singing was a sad disappointment). He kept asking if he was doing OK. He tried to make an on-stage companion from an open water bottle, but Lil Boi kicked it over, so he drew sadly on the stage with the water. He struggled (and not in silence) to put a microphone stand on its marks.

It all culminated with the audience chanting “Don’t cry!” in what I thought was a highly impressive display of group sarcasm.

Anyway, despite the late start, it was an excellent concert. Zion T was great, Lil Boi was great, and DJ Dopsh was great!