Underworld Politics

By happenstance, I waited more than a year to revisit the world of Johnnie To’s Election, finally sitting down to watch Election 2 (A.K.A. Triad Election) kind of on a lark. I was all geared up for Reign of Assassins while the world is in Yeoh mode, but then a flip switched in my head. I liked the first Election well enough, despite that its depiction of gangsters took me by surprise. They were always getting hit by cars or eating plates or never, ever firing a gun. I also struggled to keep up with the story, thrown immediately into the deep end with way too many characters all talking about many other characters. But by the end, it weirdly clicked. Oh, shit, that’s a hell of an ending. Now that I kind of understand, I’m wondering if the second and final Election movie will be clearer to start out. Nope! But what is clearer is that it’s phenomenal. … More Underworld Politics

01/18/2022 – Naeun’s Turn

I don’t know when you can consider yourself a fan of something, especially for things with prominent fan culture, like K-pop. For some, I imagine, being a fan is like taking on an identity. I certainly remember what it was like being a groupie, following the cast of a TV show around Hollywood for events and shows and things. It was pretty weird. I made some good friends, though. One of them so good, that when I was leaving Los Angeles last summer, he suggested we hang out and do a double feature of The Raid 2 and The Night Comes for Us, rather than go out to a bar — which I hate doing. Not a socialite, but I did sense that I was developing as a social creature with this new group, because barring my fellow Indonesian kung fu enthusiast, it was made up entirely of women. I’d had a single woman friend before – a token, but for a time she was also my only friend – but this was a new experience. Essentially, I had to learn how to talk to them, to make sure I was doing my part to maintain a good space. The show we were fans of was all about a diverse, inclusive world, so it would have been weird to not replicate it ourselves. For the most part, there was no drama, nothing weird happened, and unlike all my prior friend groups, there was no competition of any sort. No rivalries, no gatekeeping. … More 01/18/2022 – Naeun’s Turn

10/08/2021 – The Three Greatest K-Pop Songs?

I know I still have a long way to go on my K-pop journey, and am in no way claiming the authority necessary to even ask this question. But sometimes there’s music so compelling that the only way to express my feelings is with superlative. It’s shortsighted, and I’ve been burned on listicles before (because I live dangerously, apparently), but this is my current thought process. Sometimes I think I know which is number one, but then it changes. I do know better than to ask for input, unless the spiders have opinions, but if you’re reading this sometime in the future, let me know your take, and your top three. And don’t forget to like, comm– oh, right, spiders. … More 10/08/2021 – The Three Greatest K-Pop Songs?

Happy Birthday!

know I mentioned this last year, but I can’t get over the coincidence. Today is my birthday — thank you, thank you — but it’s also Yoon Bomi’s, with the time zones. Still, I don’t know what to do with this information, that my favorite K-pop idol was born hours after myself, on August 1993. … More Happy Birthday!

04/19/2021 – Congratulations, Apink!

Today is the ten-year anniversary of Apink, one of my favorite K-pop groups. I don’t have anything big planned to commemorate such an achievement, but I have been working intermittently behind-the-scenes on a podcast episode dedicated to them, something like “Apink: A Musical Journey” or “The Art of Apink.” I don’t know, whatever sounds less dumb. But I don’t mind being dumb, because Apink makes for sometimes simple pleasures, with their easy, listenable sound. This is their overall character, “soft” or “cute,” so they lull you and when the surprises come, they hit hard. There’s the gradual “maturing” in tone they’ve developed in the past few years, with hits like “I’m So Sick” and “Eung Eung” — both excellent — but I don’t want to look at that as a change of style. I think it’s all one thing, that there’s a central driver behind songs as disparate in theme as “My My” and “Dumhdurum.” We’ll talk more in-depth about their artistry later. … More 04/19/2021 – Congratulations, Apink!

Top 10 YouTube 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again, where we count down the best YouTube videos of the past 12 months (I’d already used “year” in this sentence, so I couldn’t use it twice). What do you mean “again” doesn’t apply in this case? Well, true enough this site and its correspondent YouTube channel launched this year — and what a year! So exciting, wow. Primarily, what helped me through was YouTube, and what a year! Seems like everyone, from Yoona and Yuri to Hayoung started up their channels, providing so much wonderful c-o-n-t-e-n-t to pick up and watch. … More Top 10 YouTube 2020

Bomi III

In case the last post needed context, and in case I needed more and further procrastination / littering this supposed Wordpress with Tumblr content (R), graciously allow me to allow you a greater scope of Bbom, who is, I’m discovering, perhaps my favorite of all idols. At the very least, she is the most fun to watch do anything, as we’ll see. But first, if Bomi was so soft in “Only One,” she adopts a cool and fierce look for “I’m So Sick,” my current obsession. … More Bomi III

Bomi II

Videos for December underway: “Battle of the Warrior Queens Part II” and “The Conquerors: Nomad and Mongol.” In the meantime, I just need to point out how soft Bomi looks in “Only One.” … More Bomi II

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