Happy Birthday to Mi!

Today is my 27th birthday. But more importantly, it’s Bomi’s 27th birthday, with the time zones. So while this post originated as the first in a feature — an idol hall of fame — let’s stay focused on the birthday girl for now, because there’s a lot to cover. … More Happy Birthday to Mi!

Top 5 K-Pop Songs

Yes, this is the absolutely definitive top five K-pop songs of all time, according to someone who’s been listening to K-pop for, like, a year. I trust that this list will evolve as I continue on in my Koreaboo journey, so maybe I’ll make it a recurring feature. There’s just something about this music that makes me want to surrender to hyperbole, to shout superlatives and classify things as number one best, not to evangelize but simply to accurately express my feelings. And this isn’t a one-way thing, man. I need to know your top K-pop songs, however you reach me. Email, Twitter, a thrown brick upon the temple, message wrapped around it. Two notes before we begin: first, I’m doing one song per group, so that this doesn’t become a Red Velvet show. And second, you may be frustrated to discover that all these songs are by girl groups. Whenever I say “K-pop,” you know, on the street, a brick in your hand, that’s pretty much what I’m talking about, though that obviously makes for somewhat serious omissions. Whatever! Everybody ready? … More Top 5 K-Pop Songs

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Dumhdurum”

I love everything about this song — the music itself, of course, and also the MV. The colors, the lavish detail, the frowny-girl scowls, and even Naeun’s cornrows (speaking of appropriative). This is a really bold outing for Apink, as far as I’ve seen (having missed a few of their more recent evolutionary steps, namely “%%”). It pops. There’s a big synchronized hair whip in the choreography, and I think that’s the quintessence of the piece. It’s fast and fun — it’s a real jolt. And it’s lean, maintaining a consistent vibe throughout, rather than peaks and valleys. … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Dumhdurum”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Jelly”

I have mixed feelings about “Monster.” I know — who asked me, right? Who am I? Well, how about Seulgi’s number one fan? That’s right. Now don’t you look silly. It’s got a certain earworm quality, and it is growing on me, maybe more like a parasite than what I’m used to. Even before you see the video, the cynic in me feels like they’re playing it safe for the new subunit, double-dipping into that “Psycho” bucket. And look, I love “Psycho,” but it’s a belter. “Monster” is far more low-key, as if “sexy” necessarily comes at the expense of “energy.” With a growing understanding of other groups, the label that most characterizes Red Velvet to me — in music and personality — is weird. These girls are some of the weirdest people I’ve ever beheld, with that conversation in Vietnam about crushing crickets to feed to the baby chicken ripped straight out of A Scanner Darkly*. Undoubtedly, that’s part of the charm, and that’s what’s reflected in the eclectic music. … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Jelly”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Into the New World”

My God, I’ve only been listening to this song since Friday and I already feel nostalgic about it. It’s just got that power, so I can’t imagine how it is for longtime Girls’ Generation fans who grew up with “Into the New World,” looking back at the full lives suggested in the video, now lived, through triumph and heartbreak (and probably less plane-flying, but given the nature of Korean variety shows, you never fucking know). … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Into the New World”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “The SOOTORY #3”

This day, our K-Pop Pick of the Day is a little different. Not a song, no. In fact, lately, I’ve been weighing which Girls’ Generation song to talk about here, and as a very newcomer, I’ve only got three favorites so far: “Girls’ Generation,” “Gee,” and “Hoot.” My number one is actually “Girls’ Generation,” which I can’t get out of my head. But as you may tell, that song is from the beginning of the group, and they are very much babies in the video (which looks like it was indeed filmed the year of their births, or perhaps on a videotape?). Half, or more than half, of my experience with K-pop so far is videos like this, glimpses into the idols’ non-stage personas (I hesitate, firmly, to say “the idols’ personalities,” because I’m trying very hard to not fall into parasocial traps). … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “The SOOTORY #3”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “About Love”/”Taste”

The linkage between these two songs is immediately felt: they bounce. Wikipedia might classify “Taste” as pop/dance, and I can abide that, though it’s generic enough to be applied to all of the Red variety songs. It may be afield to say, but I’d almost hazard the application of “R&B” here. Both songs flow through with again, a bouncing rhythm, but are also laidback enough to eschew the frenzied energy or melancholic touch of other tracks. This is a specific zone. … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “About Love”/”Taste”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “NoNoNo”

This is where it began with Apink and I, and what a perfectly succinct introduction to this group’s bubblegum and surprisingly sexualized style. My frame of reference being Red Velvet, I do find Apink videos to be much calmer and still, willing to let the girls spend time with a single activity (in this case, baking cakes?) rather than run them through several at lightning speed (baking cakes, getting lost in the woods, stepping on cakes, breaking things, finding ants in cakes). That reduction in variety doesn’t also reduce the character: there’s still plenty of big smiles and goofing around. What could be cuter than Eunji poking Naeun with a cupcake? … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “NoNoNo”