Kpop MV Day 22

Kpop Music Video: Day 22
History by EXO under SM Entertainment

All 12 Members
All 12 Members

Normally, I’d embed the video next, but the way this group is set up requires me to talk about the band before I post the video. EXO is a 12 member group that debuted one year ago. Their group is further divided into two subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M. Each subgroup uses the same song, and the same dance for their music video, but the K subgroup sings the song in Korean, and the M subgroup sings the song in Mandarin Chinese. This way, SM entertainment can make a group that can simultaneously promote themselves in Korea and China (which like Japan, is becoming more receptive to Kpop style music), and only write one song and choreograph one dance for what in essence is 2 separate bands. So without further ado:

EXO-K’s History

EXO-M’s History

So this band is one of the three bands I think were substantial rookie bands to debut last year, the other two being Nu’est, and B.A.P. (I’m speaking from strictly an international perspective; I’m well aware that Busker Busker wrecked all three in terms of new bands debuting). However, I’m just getting on to the Exotic bandwagon of craziness, and with much trepidation. I didn’t want to touch EXO with a ten foot pole when they first debuted because I subscribed to their youtube channel (SM Entertainment) just before they started releasing teaser videos (30 second videos meant to pique your interest about a song being released) and SM flooded my feed with teasers. It’s like walking past a store with too many advertisements. Eventually you assume that its a dollar store and the merchandise is cheap, otherwise why would you need that many ads? Then to follow it up, Exotics themselves are a pretty crazy fanbase. I have always been the type of person that will try a band if it seems like a good number of people like them, but as soon as a fan base starts trashing other bands on THE OTHER BANDS videos, or seem super focused on how unbelievably awesome their group is, I stay away before I can get into them. I have dubbed this the Naruto/Bleach effect, since this is where my aversion to fan groups first arose. To be honest, I’m not really sure how I’ve made it through so many songs without completely dropping fandoms. All I can say is, I’m so glad I came upon SNSD’s videos first, otherwise some of the comments that are made in other groups’ videos would make me want to shun them FOREVER.

EXO K
EXO K

The other thing that makes me feel weird about EXO is that for the first time I get this feeling that the band is completely manufactured. My friend who is into Indie music describes this as the “made from money” effect, like they’re just a machine that’s meant to spit out songs and dance on stage. He’d call it souless pop, and while I know that these bands are created by companies, I feel like I’ve gotten to see so many stars go through so much work to make it on these stages that I can’t see it as being souless. But with EXO, I really don’t know. What is great about this factory type construction of using the same dance and song but having two different languages to choose from, is I get to pick which band I want to listen to over and over again. I chose to show you History because I really genuinely enjoy both renditions. I listen to MAMA in Korean because I like the singing better in Korean, and Wolf in Mandarin, because I feel that Mandarin lends itself better to rap. Oh and I only listen to What is Love in Korean, but I only listen to that song when I want to lose my pants in Rippito sippito flippin slow motion. Even though I listen to the bands about equally, I appreciate Exo-M better; I’ve just noticed I pay attention to the Mandarin videos more. Maybe I’m M biased. Who can tell?

EXO M
EXO M

Regardless of my reservations, EXO is a pretty talented group full of good singers, some good rappers, and a whole ton of good dancers. One of the best things about this group is the dancing, which seems to be spectacular in every song they do. And no matter how much the fan base can annoy me, I’ll still be humming this song at the end of the day.

❤ Rebecca

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Kpop MV Day 21

Kpop Music Video: Day 21
Bubble Pop by Hyuna (from 4minute) under Cube Entertainment

Hyuna in cute mode.
Hyuna in cute mode.

Kim Hyuna is the visual, dancer, rapper and sometimes singer from the band 4minute. She is mainly known in mainstream media for being the subway girl in PSY’s Gangnam Style video and the singer in the (awful) video “Oppa’s just my style”. When someone is a visual in a group it means that often they are put front and center in music videos because they are very pretty. Sometimes the perception of these types of idols are they lack talent in other areas because they get by on their looks. I’d have to disagree in Hyuna’s case, she is a pretty good dancer, a decent rapper (her older stuff is better than the newer stuff, she’s more nasally now) and despite what the “Oppa’s just my style” video would have you think, this video shows that she can actually sing, even if it has a small range and is very pop-y. I think that the unfortunate thing that happened to her because she is the visual for this band, is that Cube entertainment/ the directors for MVs that she is in have decided that her image is meant to cater directly to the young male audience. I am all for allowing people to express themselves in which ever way they seem fit, but unlike a video put out by artists like Brown Eyed Girls (for example), she seems to have no message other then “hey look at how I present myself as a sexual object”.

Blurry because she's in the middle of dancing, but take a look at her hand.
Blurry because she’s in the middle of dancing, but take a look at her hand.

There’s a fine line between slut shaming and harping on something for being degrading to women and I really had to step back when watching her videos and ask myself, “Am I judging Hyuna for how she wants to express herself and am I putting her into a box based upon the way she looks and acts?” I feel that when this type of situation comes up, you have to look at how a star acts while not on stage, (aka in a more “natural” setting) and see in comparison how many heebly-jeeblies you get when you go back to the image that is walking that line.  While her video “Ice Cream” sends me way over the line in terms of my heebly-jeebly level (which is a scientific term btw), this video perfectly straddles the line. The part of my brain that has become so accustom to the manner which people are portrayed in kpop is like a little ajumma yelling “put on some clothes young lady and maybe you should put your hands in other places than between your thighs.” However, the American part of my brain is like, “wow this is very American style. I bet she would put on a great MTV spring break concert.”

This American perception of Hyuna is very important, not only to people looking to get into Kpop, but in my own personal Kpop journey. This image is something that Americans are very familiar with and can be used to help Americans who might be interested in trying to listen to Kpop to get over the language barrier. The more it seems like something you might see on American TV, the easier it is to ignore the fact that you don’t know what they’re saying. And that’s what happened to me. While Gee was the song that made me click from video to video playing new Kpop songs, Bubble Pop was my very first Kpop song. I clicked on it when it was number 9 on the Youtube Music 100 and blasted the song around my house cause it was so catchy. I thought nothing of the way she was dressed or dancing, it was just fun. It’s just a reminder of how much media plays a part in how you perceive images and the world around you, because that moment was only two summers ago, and I view Hyuna very differently now.

❤ Rebecca

PS. This dress. Do want.

I love the cut on the bottom and zipper controlled cleavage is pretty damn cool.
I love the cut on the bottom and zipper controlled cleavage is pretty damn cool.

Kpop MV Day 20

Kpop Music Video: Day 20
Please don’t… (이러지마 제발) by K. Will (케이윌) under Starship Entertainment

K. Will, who’s real name is Kim Hyung-soo, is a 31 year old kpop star that uses his amazing vocals to keep himself relevant in a sea of super young, super talented idols. His career started in 2006 when he helped Rain, a huge kpop star, produce Rain’s second album. He gained notoriety for covering many English songs, especially Mariah Carey songs. He has acted in an online Kdrama, and he is a good dancer and rapper. While his live shows sell out very quickly, he is not featured in any of his music videos (although his latest MV “Love Blossom” contains a cameo). The common fan explanation for this is that his label does not think he is very attractive, and therefore hires actors to make an engaging plot driven music video.

I don't think he is ugly, do you?
I don’t think he is ugly, do you?

His music video “Please don’t”, is extremely unusual for a Kpop music video. The theme of the music video is about unrequited love, but there’s a hidden twist. Because I don’t want to ruin it if you haven’t watched it yet, pause reading and go up to the top and watchhhhhhhhhhhh it.

*Plays jeopardy theme*

Ok, you’re back now? How was that ending? I was actually never tricked into thinking that it was the woman all along, but I wasn’t certain that it was the man. This type of theme is rare in Korea, and one that shows homosexuality in any light that is normal and isn’t degrading is especially unusual. Many of Korea’s older population believe that homosexuality is a disease brought to Korea by foreigners. That’s why I like this music video so much. It took a risk and it paid off, at least with the international fans. Now if only we could get KWill inside his own music videos.

❤ Rebecca

Nasty bias is best bias!

So I was one of those fans many moons ago that donated to the Indiegogo fundraiser so Eat Your Kimchi could be its own studio and not out of Simon and Martina’s kitchen. I haven’t got to send fan mails yet but I’m hoping to do that soon. Who would have thought that Simon and Martina would be sending me mail first? EH MAI GERD!!!

MAILLLLLLLLLLLL (not to be confused with MALEEEEEEEEE)
MAILLLLLLLLLLLL (not to be confused with MALEEEEEEEEE)
I haz polaroid. And smiles. Lots of those!
I haz polaroid. And smiles. Lots of those!

SQWEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

❤ Rebecca