September Round-Up: A Sudden Attack

I feel like I wait months for any sort of news, or spend years buoyed by rumors and fan hopes (“Bring back Level Up Project!”), so when the big announcements come, I’m caught completely off-guard. In short, 2022 keeps on giving. … More September Round-Up: A Sudden Attack

The Barber of Jeonju

You’ve read right! The most precious duo in K-pop debuted as a unit yesterday, and props for taking on the fandom name. I can’t explain “Iseul” for Irene and Seulgi, who have been known in English-speaking circles as “Seulrene” forever, other than Irene is the senior and her name must come first. The music video for Chobom’s song “Copycat” is live, and it’s delightful. It’s more bubblegum than Apink’s been trending lately, with an easygoing style. I was wondering how this subunit would work musically, given how Apink music usually works, where Bomi plays off of Eunji and Namjoo, I feel like. … More The Barber of Jeonju

Mid-Year Report 2022

You guessed it! Time for lil’ ol’ me to give a tally on the year so far, in the form of a Top 5 and Worst 3, anticipating our annual QNA Year End Review. How much will things change before we hit December? And of course, these are not all 2022 releases, just things I’ve seen this year. We’ll have more later, but a listen-back to “Twenty-Five Twenty-One” by Jaurim calls me here. That song obliterates me. … More Mid-Year Report 2022

My Red Velvet Spotify Playlist [Podcast]

Well, everyone, it finally happened. A friend of mine said to me, “I’m trying to get into Red Velvet. What do you recommend?” Those are the most beautiful words under Heaven. It more than made my day; it answered with the sweep of catharsis a long-running anxiety I’ve had about the art of recommendation itself, that it’s been lost, that people don’t really mean it when they ask anymore because criticism and curation have been so thoroughly decentralized, but here she is: “What do you recommend?” … More My Red Velvet Spotify Playlist [Podcast]

There Are No Female Jedi

I’m currently embroiled in one of those arguments where the stakes are not even and things could get messy. Podcast guest host Stella took exception to a recent comment I made on QNA about the venerable Star Wars series, how I was uncomfortable as a kid watching the Prequel Trilogy because so many of the Jedi were men. It was only with Rey in The Force Awakens that I felt “Maybe this could be a universe for me, too.” Stella, a far more ardent Star Wars ardherent, with a trove-like knowledge of the Expanded Universe beyond my reckoning and a more intense investment in female representation in fiction (as a female in non-fiction), countered that there are, in fact, Jedi who are non-men. … More There Are No Female Jedi

Enough

Red Velvet has already come back, so soon after the ReVe Festival 2022, kind of compounding my anxiety that the lead single “Feel My Rhythm” will be forgotten — or, if not forgotten, uncalculated in the Best of Red Velvet calculations to come. I say this because — and this is personal heresy — it might be my favorite Red Velvet song? … More Enough

speechless.

By the third viewing, I’m beginning to see what they’re doing with “Feel My Rhythm” and perhaps The ReVe Festival 2022 altogether, as this video feels like a spiritual remix of the three lead singles from the Festival trilogy, “Umpah Umpah,” “Psycho,” and maybe especially “Zimzalabim.” I’m seeing some of the key dance moves, the costumes, similar camera work and visual motifs. … More speechless.

Kamjagiya

I can’t focus, so let me share something real quick. There are certain Korean words I’ve picked up listening to K-pop, watching K-dramas, and mostly, watching and rewatching the same Red Velvet videos (Level Up Project, behind-the-scenes, V-Lives, fan edits, you name it), and while it isn’t enough to call a starting point, I’m surprised every time I recognize anything. Some words are so specific to the people who said them that they’re indelible, like how Seulgi says “Bashta” about a beer, or Eunji with (I think) “그래” in a scene from Cheer Up, and Yeri the same in a V-Live. Wendy says “Yorubun” a very particular way at some point, but I don’t remember the context. … More Kamjagiya

K-Pop 2021: Top 3

May this come in a little late but find you, nevertheless, well. Only appropriate; this could be the first year I’ve been current with K-pop groups enough that a ranking is even possible. I’m still digging through the archives, but 2021 was a big year for comebacks. Strangely, none of these entries are group efforts. I guess that while the industry is recovering still, they’ve found that solo outings are more manageable? Either way, I heard some great stuff. What were your picks? … More K-Pop 2021: Top 3

01/02/2022 – I Really Wanted to Love This

So, in the world of K-pop, SM Entertainment recently put together a supergroup made up of members of Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, and Aespa, all led by the Queen of K-pop BoA (as if they weren’t busy enough?). With the rush of the holidays, I barely had time to even process this, because it’s an unreal lineup: you have the superstar vocals of Taeyeon and Wendy, the crazy dance talent of Hyoyeon and Seulgi. It’s also an opportunity to educate myself, as I’m not studied enough to be able to tell BoA from newcomer Winter. I know, it’s shameful, I’m sorry. Karina is easily identifiable because she’s the one who looks like Taeyeon. I mean, it’s uncanny. And the group is called Girls on Top, a BoA callback that’s only too appropriate given the star power. They debuted their first song at SM Town Live 2022 over New Years, and, uh, I don’t know. I don’t even want to say it for fear of turning into a pillar of salt, but it’s bad. … More 01/02/2022 – I Really Wanted to Love This