Author Topic: K POP THREAD (?)  (Read 5278 times)

K POP THREAD (?)
« on: August 08, 2019, 12:59:04 PM »
Can we have a K POP thread? After hearing about David Berman I really need to be introduced to some day-glo superficial overlit and molly addled happy music.

I was reading the pop thread, and really loved this


Sunmi - Siren - another former Wonder Girl and the best thing going in K-Pop right now for my money. Love her style, love her music, just hits all the right buttons for me.


In my early days of living in China, I used to watch a lot of korean music videos on their version of the MTV channel, but it was always bewildering to me. It's such a bizarre industry, seems pretty ruthless, almost cartoon, camp as hell, but also something that's so different from anything I usually bother with. I'd like to be educated please, if lazaru or some else with knowledge about, mainly the girl groups to be honest, and not just because phwoar ladies, but because I like my pop music feminine. Fight me if you got a problem with that.

this song by LOONA/YVES and this one by LOONA are both really good too.

I feel this sort of stuff is a bit like italo-disco for me - masses of artists, a lot of it shit, but when it hits it HITS.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOHB85vDuow


Also from that thread, this track is great but it's RIGHT on my threshold for dairy lea cuteness. Anything cuter, brighter, squeakier would push me over into the abyss I think.

So, humming, laz, anyone want to lift my despair with some korean pop music?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 01:11:46 PM by Gregory Torso »

imitationleather

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Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 01:08:59 PM »
Fuck BTS.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 01:12:15 PM »
What’s BTS?

Ok just looked them up and that’s shit. I don’t want that.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 04:04:48 AM »
Quote
I feel this sort of stuff is a bit like italo-disco for me - masses of artists, a lot of it shit, but when it hits it HITS.

That's not far off the mark for me either, honestly. Over time I've definitely grown a lot more tolerant to the cutesier and sexier sides of it, but there's definitely still a lot of sifting through entirely unremarkable me-too material to find the real gems in there. But at the same time that's part of the charm. A lot of it doesn't age that well but then that's not really the point. There was a time when Momoland's BAAM! was the only thing I needed to hear and that time has long passed but who cares, there'll be something else amazing along shortly.

Anyway let's start with the classics I suppose.

Unsurprisingly there are very very few truly classic full albums in the genre but there are a couple worth mentioning. Sunmi (along with other notable modern soloists like Yubin and HA:TFELT) was originally part of Wonder Girls, who took a surprising turn years into their career by all picking up instruments and taking a much more hands-on role in their own music, giving us the hugely impressive '80s throwback REBOOT. Lead single I Feel You is a solid example of their style but doesn't quite do justice to the surprising breath of the full album. It's truly great stuff. They followed it up with the reggae-tinged Why So Lonely which might be my favourite single of theirs (I know it's a bit tumblr-wanky to harp on about 'aesthetic' but that video is fucking gorgeous) and then decided to call it a day as a group.

The absolute queens of this though were f(x), who gave us an almost impeccable and unmatched 3-album run with Pink Tape, Red Light and Four Walls. This one right here marked the exact moment K-Pop really landed for me and I still think it's an astonishing piece of work. A few other random faves include the literally screaming banger Dracula and Four Walls' eponymous lead single. As a chaser there's When I'm Alone, an unused Carly Rae Jepsen track from her Emotion sessions and if I'm being honest with myself one of my fave pop choruses of all time.

Moving on to the singles...

Orange Caramel were a short-lived but widely loved offshoot of After School with a distinctive sound that straddled the line between K-Pop and Trot Music (a seemingly indestructible strain of retro-pop peculiar to Korea that's been going since the sixties). They added a massive injection of disco to their sound and ended up with 2014's breakout smash Catallena.

T-ARA are a second-gen group who once upon a time were competing with Girls Generation for the #1 spot before a bizarre (and as it turned out, entirely bullshit) fall from grace. During their imperial phase they gave us pleasingly daft weapons-grade earworms like Sexy Love and Lovey Dovey.

It's a little hampered by some dated vocal production but Brown Eyed Girls' Abracadabra slaps nonetheless.

Secret's Poison is more than a little Destiny's Child in the best possible way. Not normally a group I'm a big fan of (very much a 'phwoaar lads' delivery system for the most part) but this was the one moment where it all came together for 'em.

The infamous Nine Muses of BBC Documentary fame never quite got their due but were incredible regardless. They haemorrhaged members over the years but somehow that only made them stronger. Love City all the way.

Moving on to the current generation, Red Velvet are wildly variable to the point where even their diehard fans are split on what songs they actually like of theirs but there's no denying Russian Roulette. I love almost everything they've done but I'm in the minority on that one. Being from one of the major players they are absolutely rotten with incredible music videos like this one or that one.

BlackPink might be the biggest girl group in the world right now but the only song of their I really love is Whistle, which seems a little slight on first listen but is a hell of a grower.

TWICE has been mentioned quite a bit on here recently but on the off-chance someone's reading this coming to them fresh, I'd start with What is Love? or Heart Shaker. They're definitely right on the edge of unbearably cutesy but if you like one of their songs you'll probably like most all of 'em.

Of the relative unknown new groups trying to break through, my favourite of the bunch is probably Nature. Not just for the fantastic little chirpy hook to I'm So Pretty but also the sheer balls of taking a straight run at My Sharona and Rhythm Nation when most everyone else sort of fusses around Havana or Despacito or whatever. Maybe they're not quite there yet but it feels like they're right on the edge of something special and I love that.

Anyway I'll stop here for now as I'm rambling a bit and I've passed straight over huge swathes of stuff but that's a start I suppose.


Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 05:58:52 AM »
Cheers mate music is dreck but I get about ten wanks out of them vids.

Urinal Cake

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Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 07:58:15 AM »
I agree mostly with lazarou thoughts. For me not understanding the lyrices and great production are the main attractions. K-Pop seems to pull and reinterpret from a lot of usually short-lived genres like f(x) garage-esque '4 walls' or Red Velvet's 90's era alternative RnB  'Automatic'.

Even Twice who have started writing some songs do something interesting like Sunset https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53-Tf9RMxBA which is like early (good) Hudson Mohawke but only if he learned to mix vocals properly and wasn't a slave to his samples. Though I'd say if you want bubblegum pop 'Cheer Up' and 'Ooh Ah' are the singles to go to while if you want interesting pop production go to 'TT' and 'Signal'.   

Obviously lazarou is missing the boy bands. I tend to prefer the dance/electro/videogame pop and synchronised dance moves of earlier generations like
Big Bang (now cancelled because one member- guess which one it's pretty obvious- operated a unsolictied sexting/drug/prostitution ring out of his club) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ips2mM7Zqw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAbokV76tkU
Super Junior- Mr Simple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6TwzSGYycM
Infinite- The Chaser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C99LblF6VLEsesv

Edit: Also after you used Twice as bright line for cutseyness they've drawn a bit of flack. Sure they're happy-go-lucky innocents for the most part but the awfulness of the world happens to them. One member is currently on indefinite hiatus due to anxiety/depression. One Taiwanese member had the gall to show the Taiwanese flag and caused a diplomatic incident with China. A Japanese member had the audacity to say she missed the Heisai era and was accused of being more-or-less an imperial WWII apologist. And another member had her name dragged into the aforementioned Big Bang scandal.  It's in that dark context that you should accept that the bubblegum poppiness of Twice. 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 08:32:06 AM by Urinal Cake »

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 10:25:24 AM »
Quote
For me not understanding the lyrics and great production are the main attractions.

Likewise. To me it feels like pop music in its purest form in a way, you've got your huge synths and world-class production with usually just enough of a scattering of english in there to set the tone without getting too bogged down in the specifics.

Quote
K-Pop seems to pull and reinterpret from a lot of usually short-lived genres like f(x) garage-esque '4 walls' or Red Velvet's 90's era alternative RnB  'Automatic'.

We're currently at the fag-end of an exhaustingly long Tropical House phase, which has produced some good material but I'll definitely be relieved to see the back of, and it'll be interesting to see what replaces it. Recently Psytrance has been making some inroads with things like Stray Kid's 'Side Effects' and Hyo's Badster. Whether it's a minor diversion or the start of something more remains to be seen I suppose, but it's a welcome change of pace. There's always been a decent crop of fun outliers though for sure. A couple more notables, in no particular order:

-IU covering a cheesy SoBangCha anthem in a low-fi retro girl group style in Last Night Story
-Lim Kim skewing closer to something more like Purity Ring than contemporary K-Pop with Awoo*
-Wonder Girls' Yubin taking on City Pop (as mentioned in that other thread)
-f(x) member Luna's underrated Future House effort Free Somebody
-former f(x)er Sulli's unexpected comeback with the endearingly woozy On The Moon
-Dreamcatcher more or less singlehandedly flying the rock chick flag with stuff like Piri when they're not redeeming bloody Maroon 5 songs
-Sistar working with Giorgio Moroder

As far as boy bands go I'm not nearly as well versed as I am with girl groups but I do like them as full-on Pop and maximalist as it goes for the most part. Give me Shinee hunting down the ghost of Jessica from SNSD or Vixx so bursting with gothic melodrama they're driving stakes through each other. Fuck it, for something more recent give me Dongkiz sampling the theme from Ghostbusters, I can take it. Agreed on all your selections there too.

It's a good point regarding Twice, they've certainly had their share of ridiculous drama and have absolutely worked their arses off to be where they are even by K-Pop standards, and it does kind of put their work in a different light.


* Slipped my mind when I was discussing albums last time around but Lim Kim's 'Simple Mind' is another essential one.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 11:51:42 AM »
Red Velvet are fucking brilliant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyiIGEHQP8o

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 12:22:26 PM »
Yea, in my attempt to give a relatively objective overview I've severely undersold Red Velvet there. They are easily one of the best groups going and regularly releasing the most exciting and creative music of the Big Three. Big fan of Sunny Side Up from their most recent one along with the Wii Shop Channel energy of LP.

Cuellar

  • She was having sly love with a midnight creeper
Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 12:37:51 PM »
Big fan of Sunny Side Up from their most recent one

Like this  - reminds me of Art Angels era-Grimes, which was I suppose Grimes's intention. In fact flicking around the various songs in this thread has brought home just how much Grimes was influenced by k-pop stuff.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 09:30:16 PM »
Huge thanks for the replies, especially Lazarou. I've had a horrible day and this thread has cheered me right up. It's nice to read something written with knowledge and passion about a genre of music that gets dismissed a lot.
I'll admit I'm not on board with everything that's been posted so far (mome-rath pauine quirke haircut dance troupe BTS), but there's some real solid stuff here, exactly what I need right now, some colour.
 
I mean
This one right here 
is like a sexy "Cannonball", and
Quote
When I'm Alone
this is late night neon city loneliness made sound.

& I fucking LOVE this,
Catallena.
it reminded me of Hausu. It took me away.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2019, 09:32:33 PM »
These were also spot on smash hits for me
Lim Kim skewing closer to something more like Purity Ring than contemporary K-Pop with Awoo*
Wonder Girls' Yubin taking on City Pop (as mentioned in that other thread)
and that other one I liked, which one was that hang on

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 09:36:40 PM »

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2019, 02:49:05 AM »
As a 40 year old white man I really don't know whether I'm qualified to rank this stuff (coincidentally a Korean family have just moved in next door - mother and three kids - how do I approach this? - "Excuse me...") but I really like the music of ITZY but suspect they might be the K-Pop equivalent of Sleeper is to Britpop.

But whilst I work that one out this is ITZY.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr16aEZ7f4U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNfTK39k55U

I love the bubblegum / donk-pop end of it. Fuck it. I just do. This video is a bit lame but the tune is fine.

Edit: I don't understand the Youtube algorithms but is it just me that get Grammerly adverts?

Twed

  • What, prick? That's my child. My Johnson's child
Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 03:43:41 AM »
My girlfriend has BlackPink socks

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2019, 09:59:03 AM »
As a 40 year old white man I really don't know whether I'm qualified to rank this stuff (coincidentally a Korean family have just moved in next door - mother and three kids - how do I approach this? - "Excuse me...") but I really like the music of ITZY but suspect they might be the K-Pop equivalent of Sleeper is to Britpop.

I'm late '30s and ended up here by marrying into a Korean-American family and just sort of stumbling into the whole genre by accident thanks to idols constantly turning up on Korean soaps. I randomly ended up in LA which happened to be the one place in the west idols regularly perform live (until very recently) so my fandom nonsense is basically the result of a few happy coincidences. Though given my taste in pop I'd definitely have ended up at the likes of Red Velvet and Sunmi one way or another I suppose.

ITZY are a really new group that just debuted this year and are the sister group to Twice, sharing the same agency. Agencies are a big deal in K-Pop, with certain ones having very distinct styles and rosters with groups literally made to complement each other. Anyway, they're basically Twice's younger, brattier and slightly more streetwise little sisters and I think they're great. Opinion is split a little but I'd say they've definitely been growing on people. I especially like their new one (the first link you posted there), and that dance clip is definitely the best way to experience that as the choreo is incredible. I'll actually be seeing 'em live on Sunday, thanks to the KCON weekender they have here every year, alongside the likes of Loona, and after that lot they're the group I'm most hyped to see.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 11:45:37 AM by lazarou »

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2019, 11:43:53 AM »
Seeing as there's been a better response to the more full-on daft side of things than I was expecting I'll post a few more standouts from the last couple of years. And cheers for the responses btw, it's actually interesting to share this stuff outside of the usual fandom bubble that tends to stifle any kind of interesting discussion on anything.

Momoland - Bboom Bboom. Did for 2018 what Catallena did a few years previous. A Massive hit that was all but unavoidable on korean media but somehow still hasn't worn out its welcome for me.

Gugudan - Chococo. Catchy guitar hook and a wonderfully strange all-timer of a video. Pair it with their equally silly splinter group OGUOGU's Ice Chu.

Laboum - Shooting Love. Underrated to the point where I regularly seem to forget they even exist but still responsible for some of the best bubblegum pop of the genre. See also their '80s throwback Aalow Aalow.

And if we're talking '80s throwback we kind of have to slip Oh! My Mistake by APRIL in there too. Not a fan of the group normally but that one's a keeper.

If you've made it this far, congratulations and welcome to your breaking point. Oh My Girl BANHANA's Banana Allergy Monkey. I *really* have to be in the mood for that one but the daft charm of it won me over in the end. It is aggressively cutesy though.



Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 01:18:33 PM »
Cheers Lazarou. All of those have things I like. Chococo is clearly the best but just wish the production was a bit more mental and less disco. The other song of theirs you posted genuinely had Take That Could It Be Magic vibes which is fine but I like my music even more messy. It’s a bit like how I thought I liked Jungle (I do) but what I was thinking of really was Breakcore. What is the breakcore end of K-pop (in spirit if not literally breakcore).

Crossing the Sea of Japan (I bet that’s not what Koreans call it) for some Joshi theme tune.

https://youtu.be/wcurtccTT4A - Yuka Sakazaki

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2019, 05:29:36 AM »
SHINee : Sherlock https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8kyG5tTZ1iE

SHINee were huge when I was in SK circa 2011/12 , they were hot property, and I hate dancing but these lads could dance like trojans. Anyway great pumping song about Sherlock Holmes.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2019, 07:42:06 AM »
SHINee were a great group and still what I'd consider the gold standard for a great boy band. Strong, charismatic performers who genuinely seem like a pretty close bunch, capable of delivering everything from the UK Garage-infused View to the manic Thriller-isms of Married To The Music (another ace video there). I say 'were' as although they're still a going concern, things have shifted considerably since the tragic suicide of their frontman Jonghyun, who had been struggling a lot worse with depression than anyone really knew. It'd be easy to paint this tragedy and subsequent continuation of the group as products of a notoriously rough industry, but it's worth noting all the surviving members chose to renew their contracts after this fact and the continuation of the group does seem to be on their terms, so I tend to feel it runs a little deeper than that.

Their lead dancer Taemin has also developed a nice sideline in sultry synthpop with stuff like the thrillingly slow burning MOVE (seen here in a special clip performing with his frequent dance partner and muse, Japanese choreographer Koharu Sugawara) and its companion piece WANT. He seems to have ascended past overtly flashy group choreo to the point where every little move makes its own mark. I know naff all about dance but I expect that's a fuckload more complicated than it seems, and he makes it look entirely effortless.

Quote
Cheers Lazarou. All of those have things I like. Chococo is clearly the best but just wish the production was a bit more mental and less disco. The other song of theirs you posted genuinely had Take That Could It Be Magic vibes which is fine but I like my music even more messy. It’s a bit like how I thought I liked Jungle (I do) but what I was thinking of really was Breakcore. What is the breakcore end of K-pop (in spirit if not literally breakcore).

(thanks for that Sakazaki clip btw, not entirely my thing but I love what they've got going on there)

That's a tricky one, as it's hard to think of all that many things that are genuinely out there production-wise. Going back to the LOONA well we've got the clattering production of Favorite. Cuellar mentioned Grimes earlier and as an interesting counterpoint to that there's no doubting LOONATIC is carrying a direct Art Angels influence (there's a bit of a mutual appreciation society going on there as Grimes herself turns up briefly on a later single). Red Velvet's Japanese release Sappy is a scalpel-sharp bit of sweet electropop undercut with a honking off-time trumpet riff and a strange, driving chorus, doesn't tend to get mentioned much but it's probably one of their best singles.

And speaking of Red Velvet they just released Umpah Umpah earlier this morning and it's as pure a piece of bubblegum pop as you're likely to hear this year. Definitely them playing to the safer side of their style but their distinctively rich vocals really shine through in this one. There are very few groups out there that can land a belting girl-group harmony quite as well as RV (okay, Oh My Girl too to be fair) and this really shows it off nicely.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 07:59:36 AM by lazarou »

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2019, 07:54:45 AM »
In other news just recovering from KCON LA where LOONA made their first appearance in front of a western audience.



It went well. If they play things right they could be a very big deal very soon.

Absolutely incredible weekend.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2019, 09:09:18 PM »
Cheers for all this Lazarou.

I don't expect you to answer at length but if you could point me in the right direction I would be very grateful.

My like the pro-wrestling the really fascinating stuff often happens behind the scenes and you have already alluded to a fair few examples of the dark heart of K-pop (suicides, people trafficking, international incidents....). Do you have any good sources where I could read more?

Obviously like all pop music there is bound to be a highly competative and therefore grim and exploitative aspect to K-Pop but how much of that is accepted as "collateral damage" (for want of a better not awful term), or is it just brushed under the carpet? I read statistics about up to 50% of Korean women having plastic surgery and the looks and the body shapes are all so similar it definitely gives off vibes of a huge pop industrial complex ticking away underneath it all. Am I being too harsh? Education levels in Korea are high so do most of these kids have something to fall back on or is it just grim?

One aside (not sure if I mentioned it above) but watching the dance routines reminds me of the South Korean women's Archery team (and the curling team in the winter olympics - and the golfers actually). In those three sports South Korean women absolutely dominate at times and I suspect it is not coincidence that they all involve huge levels of repetition and practising. Is this something in the Korean mindset (maybe especially for women) or am I over reaching?

If there is not a good book or TV series about this then there should be.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2019, 01:32:41 AM »
I'm also fascinated by that side of things but honestly it's such a wide-ranging topic it's hard to know where to even start. A lot of this will be anecdotal as most of my info is either from media coverage or a couple of native Korean pals who live there, so take with a pinch of salt. I've never lived there myself and even if I had my experience would be very different as an outsider.

Quote
Obviously like all pop music there is bound to be a highly competitive and therefore grim and exploitative aspect to K-Pop but how much of that is accepted as "collateral damage" (for want of a better not awful term), or is it just brushed under the carpet?

There's no doubt it can be a harsh industry but I'm not convinced it's much worse than what we have here to be honest. It's certainly more tightly structured and regimented and there are of course some real horror stories (you've might have heard about the 'Burning Sun' scandal recently, which had some really nasty side-details like a popular male performer filming himself raping drugged or blackout-drunk women, some of whom seem to have been trainees), but as the recent #metoo scandals have proven this seems to be something you find anywhere powerful people and young hopefuls cross paths. I really don't want to come off as an apologist here, but it seems more complex than just being some kind of meatgrinder for young talent. I'm under no illusions it certainly can be though, especially at the thin end of the wedge where the really struggling groups live.

The source most people will recommend is the BBC Documentary I mentioned in passing earlier in the thread, Nine Muses of Star Empire, a hugely depressing chronicle of a struggling girl group under a shithouse agency. The one source of light to that one is that 9Muses did go the distance in the end, maybe not one of the big-hitters but they had a great if underrated run over the years and everyone's since shot of their contracts.

It's hard to think of definitive sources for an overview of the current situation off-hand, but despite the sensational name Asian Junkie is good for a running tally of everything going on in K-Pop (with the occasional foray into the Chinese and Japanese music industries), and refreshingly short of the typical puff pieces or screaming hyperbole that typically stinks up any attempt at covering this scene.

Quote
I read statistics about up to 50% of Korean women having plastic surgery and the looks and the body shapes are all so similar it definitely gives off vibes of a huge pop industrial complex ticking away underneath it all. Am I being too harsh?

The whole surgery thing is an interesting topic all by itself. A common foreign take on the huge uptake in surgery is that it's the influence of western beauty standards, but although that may be an factor I don't it's nearly as much as people think it is. In Korean (and most asian countries') culture the ideal beauty standard seems to have been porcelain pale skin, big eyes, small features and a slim, petite body since about as far back as recorded history goes. And yeah, I'm sure the ever-present perfect idols winking at you from soju posters and BB cream commercials is perpetuating that.

A huge reason for their popularity is that Korean plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments are both world-class and surprisingly cheap. It's not uncommon to get things like group discounts for bringing a friend or package discounts for combined procedures, especially for relatively minor treatments like laser or botox. I've heard that basically nobody gets their body hair waxed there for example as laser treatment is so affordable everyone just gets it done instead.

You can find some interesting stuff on idol life and korean beauty standards from YouTubers like Soobeanie and Grazy Grace. Yeah they tend towards rambling clickbait at times but there's some good stuff in there, presented from the perspective of retired veterans of D-Tier groups who definitely have seen their share of shit. It's a lot to sift through though and does tend to take a knowledge of the genre as a given.

Quote
One aside (not sure if I mentioned it above) but watching the dance routines reminds me of the South Korean women's Archery team (and the curling team in the winter olympics - and the golfers actually). In those three sports South Korean women absolutely dominate at times and I suspect it is not coincidence that they all involve huge levels of repetition and practising. Is this something in the Korean mindset (maybe especially for women) or am I over reaching?

There does definitely seem to be a fondness for drilling coupled with a ferocious work ethic ingrained in the culture. Remember this is a country with mandatory military service for any males under 30 and it doesn't matter how famous you are. Also by first-world standards it's a very young country, young enough that the really hard times are still in living memory. They've gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world following the War in the Pacific through a massive development into the '60s and only ended up with any kind of functional democracy in the late '80s. As a developed nation they've grown up astonishingly fast and it feels like there's still a lot to process there.

Anyway I'm rambling all over the place and someone may well point out a few major factors I'm overlooking here but that's the general impression I get as someone who's been fairly immersed in the popular culture for the last five or six years.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2019, 08:19:17 AM »
I'm also fascinated by that side of things but honestly it's such a wide-ranging topic it's hard to know where to even start. A lot of this will be anecdotal as most of my info is either from media coverage or a couple of native Korean pals who live there, so take with a pinch of salt. I've never lived there myself and even if I had my experience would be very different as an outsider.

There's no doubt it can be a harsh industry but I'm not convinced it's much worse than what we have here to be honest. It's certainly more tightly structured and regimented and there are of course some real horror stories (you've might have heard about the 'Burning Sun' scandal recently, which had some really nasty side-details like a popular male performer filming himself raping drugged or blackout-drunk women, some of whom seem to have been trainees), but as the recent #metoo scandals have proven this seems to be something you find anywhere powerful people and young hopefuls cross paths. I really don't want to come off as an apologist here, but it seems more complex than just being some kind of meatgrinder for young talent. I'm under no illusions it certainly can be though, especially at the thin end of the wedge where the really struggling groups live.

The source most people will recommend is the BBC Documentary I mentioned in passing earlier in the thread, Nine Muses of Star Empire, a hugely depressing chronicle of a struggling girl group under a shithouse agency. The one source of light to that one is that 9Muses did go the distance in the end, maybe not one of the big-hitters but they had a great if underrated run over the years and everyone's since shot of their contracts.

It's hard to think of definitive sources for an overview of the current situation off-hand, but despite the sensational name Asian Junkie is good for a running tally of everything going on in K-Pop (with the occasional foray into the Chinese and Japanese music industries), and refreshingly short of the typical puff pieces or screaming hyperbole that typically stinks up any attempt at covering this scene.

The whole surgery thing is an interesting topic all by itself. A common foreign take on the huge uptake in surgery is that it's the influence of western beauty standards, but although that may be an factor I don't it's nearly as much as people think it is. In Korean (and most asian countries') culture the ideal beauty standard seems to have been porcelain pale skin, big eyes, small features and a slim, petite body since about as far back as recorded history goes. And yeah, I'm sure the ever-present perfect idols winking at you from soju posters and BB cream commercials is perpetuating that.

A huge reason for their popularity is that Korean plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments are both world-class and surprisingly cheap. It's not uncommon to get things like group discounts for bringing a friend or package discounts for combined procedures, especially for relatively minor treatments like laser or botox. I've heard that basically nobody gets their body hair waxed there for example as laser treatment is so affordable everyone just gets it done instead.

You can find some interesting stuff on idol life and korean beauty standards from YouTubers like Soobeanie and Grazy Grace. Yeah they tend towards rambling clickbait at times but there's some good stuff in there, presented from the perspective of retired veterans of D-Tier groups who definitely have seen their share of shit. It's a lot to sift through though and does tend to take a knowledge of the genre as a given.

There does definitely seem to be a fondness for drilling coupled with a ferocious work ethic ingrained in the culture. Remember this is a country with mandatory military service for any males under 30 and it doesn't matter how famous you are. Also by first-world standards it's a very young country, young enough that the really hard times are still in living memory. They've gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world following the War in the Pacific through a massive development into the '60s and only ended up with any kind of functional democracy in the late '80s. As a developed nation they've grown up astonishingly fast and it feels like there's still a lot to process there.

Anyway I'm rambling all over the place and someone may well point out a few major factors I'm overlooking here but that's the general impression I get as someone who's been fairly immersed in the popular culture for the last five or six years.

No cheers. That is really interesting. I particularly like the idea that assuming that Korean women's use of plastic surgery is an aspriation to be more "Western looking" is itself an example of Western-centric thinking. I will have that one for future arguments. :)

I had a bit of a dig last night looking into the slave contracts thing and the TVXQ court case - spoiler for those unaware - they won. All very interesting stuff. Will watch that documentary later.

(Sorry for those of you who wanted this to be a thread of pure joy - to rebalance things have this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taNiQedx2qY - Maki Itoh is a Japanese Joshi wrestler and her gimmick / story / is it true (?) is that she was rejected from an Idol group because her head was too big (literally?). So obviously her wrestling moves involve her using her big head on her opponents - also featuring the music of Babymetal. She is utterly hilarious).



Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2019, 12:56:22 PM »
What is the breakcore end of K-pop (in spirit if not literally breakcore).

Not sure about K-pop, but this is some fucking mental breakcore broken J-pop by EeL - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJgtq0MY-nI

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2019, 12:57:46 PM »
Also, this made my week -

Gugudan - Chococo.

Continuous thanks for helping me out from the oubliette.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2019, 11:29:09 PM »
J-Pop diversion.

I am not totally sold on this stuff as all of it has something that is just a bit off or not to my taste but let's throw it out. I'll go digging more later but for now two big hitters that are fairly obvious.

Perfume.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhfYis6VuXY

Way to EDM for me but features the most beautiful dresses I think I have ever seen. Just asked my girlfriend if she agrees and yes they are.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Kira Kira Killer

The Japanese Lady Gaga.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FbwCIxT0g

Again potential for being so crushingly hip its naff to our tastes but I like it.

It makes me want to go digging through Die Antwood videos mind.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2019, 01:02:38 AM »
Oh fuck yeah. I've found a little breakthough with Japanese stuff.

Toriena - Doping Life

https://youtu.be/qzFzYlFceec

Gabba-esq hard techno sillyness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKs9EjvO-pg

Chiptune J-pop

---

Dempagumi Inc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTTnyA38NfE

Tribal Irish Ganguro (?) shite. So shit it's amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Zku8hut4g

---

Shokotan Daisuki Dempagumi - Punch Line?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Zku8hut4g


Schoolgirl  60-s girl group Hi-NRG

---

FEMM - Countdown

https://femmwww.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Zku8hut4g

Charli XCX western style house groove bop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz3jLeDvpu4

Fuck me FEMM are amazing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbIJlQjv3pU


---

This is a bit to credible for my tastes but its good

https://youtu.be/4jWLioW7Zx0

Wednesday Campanella

And I'll post this here even though it is in French but I love it so much and I never get any feedback from anyone about how ace it is. Mai Lan. Huitre is the french word for Oyster and is a pun on Huit (the french word for 8)

https://youtu.be/Vq2tWM_kssY

And now you got me on the French stuff ( I am studying Welsh, French, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese) stick your headphones on and listen to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw3wL15qD1g



Not to be sexist and leave out the men.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c64sQsABKcM


Oh it's never ending joy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmHQ40mfYzc

The thing I really like is how even the worst sounding EDM track suddenly breaks out into pop joyfullness.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 01:41:48 AM by hummingofevil »

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2019, 02:04:10 AM »
Ha ha.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fud4lDy4_Nw

I think I might be gay.

Re: K POP THREAD (?)
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2019, 06:58:07 AM »
I think I've harped on about them in another pop thread here, but yeah FEMM are fucking incredible. They're basically everything I want in an electropop group, catchy as fuck, outrageous aesthetics and never afraid to go hard when they need to. They were briefly popular around 'Fxxk Boyz Get Money' but I'm surprised they never went massive despite every subsequent release being fantastic, and in perfect english too. 'L.C.S' and White Noise in particular are flawless bangers.

I've been meaning to give Perfume and KPP a proper listen as I've had them recommended to me often, but something about them tends to throw me. Really need to give it another go as there's a lot to love going on there. Will have to give those links a proper listen later.

While we're on the subject of J-Pop, E-Girls can be a little hit-or-miss for me but when they hit with an absolute belter like EG-ENERGY that doesn't seem to matter.