A personal Kpop challenge

I’m a pretty casual Kpop fan (which to regular people standards means I’m a legit fan). Not eating, sleeping and breathing the stuff yet. I’m always interested in taking a look at new bands and new songs, but if I don’t have a segue it’s really hard for me to get into a band for the first time. So I was wandering around on the internet like I always do, when I came across this video by the youtube user Kdaebak:

Wow, there are a billion bands I don’t know. Now I figured that I wouldn’t know many of the bands in the thirties and even some in the twenties and I was definitely right but this reminds me that I’ve never seen an AOA or a Hello Venus video. There are many bands that I’ve simply over looked or not kept up with on this list and it reminds me that there’s still a large Kpop pool that is being underutilized by my ears. I think by the end of this year, I want to explore each of these bands and add a favorite song to my personal Kpop playlist. If you want to see which songs I’ve picked, you can take a look at this playlist here:

I love challenges =)

❤ Rebecca

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Kplaylist 1: Aegyozilla!

So I made one mistake when filming my introductions to all these songs besides all of the stuttering and tangents. I filmed this at 1 am at my house, while the rest of my family was asleep. This means that I spoke really softly and you’ll need to either listen to me whisper or turn up the volume on my videos and turn down the volume on the kpop videos. I’ll make sure to film during the day next time =D  Warning: Both my video explanations and my blog post contain spoilers.

So this playlist started off by hearing the song Bar Bar Bar by Crayon Pop. I was really interested in this song that had somehow taken over the Billboard charts, and I really feel that the power of cute helped out in that. I have to make a temporary (I hope) edit to the playlist; Bar Bar Bar has been blocked in America by the Korean companies on copyright grounds…. and it was fine when I filmed a day ago. What can you do?

From there I started with B1A4’s What’s Happening? which shows off the murderous nature of pillows and Tiny G’s Minimanimo which highlights how giant objects make everything cuter. Then I went for an SM kick with Shinee’s Hello and  F(x)’s Chu ❤ where the girls exchange saliva with everything and Jonghyun looks creepily at small children. I took a short break from my SM bit with the song Shy Boy by Secret with their Shy boy themed stores and clubs, only to go back to SM with SNSD’s Oh. Then I have 4minute’s Heart to Heart where you’ll need to watch for the girl in the cap. After that comes BAP’s Stop it where you have to wonder if the girl did that all on purpose to convert him. Then it’s Miss A’s penguin dance… I mean Breathe and finally the movie IU’s You and I. I talked a bit about each of the videos I chose in the playlist, so it’s best to watch the videos for some explanation.

Also, should you like my playlist and want to listen to all the songs without my commentary in between, here’s a link to a playlist with only the music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMqL1iWfku4&list=PLHmOF2oQvtQGIu4GXFg2Fts-BoZrNmWWy

❤ Rebecca

New type of blog post: Kplaylist spectacular!

Thanks to Minni at the blog http://kpoponmymind.wordpress.com/ for helping me work around my writers block. My friend has been telling me for ages that I need to start a vlog. I guess I am more dynamic while I speak, but everyone has to bear with me as I learn this video stuff, because I don’t know how to edit ANYTHING. Every day’s an adventure I guess.

Anyway, I don’t know how often I’m going to be making these, but I want to get on a time schedule. At most, I’d put them out weekly, at least I’ll put them out monthly. So I think bimonthly is a happy medium. Anyway, if you have any requests let me know xD

❤ Rebecca

Musing help

Going through my most recent posts, I’ve noticed that I’ve tended to shy away from the original point of this blog. When I wrote this, I thought that I was going to be catering to the new Kpop fan, but I’ve realized that new Kpop fans don’t typically search stuff that will bring them to this blog and keep them coming back to it. I don’t have the time, or the patience to write on a daily basis, but I need a structured backbone for a post before I start writing. Not because I can’t write a free form newsy type post, but because I’m not in deep enough that I’m checking sites like Allkpop and others for news everyday. Some people treat kpop like crack, needing a fix all the time. For me Kpop is more like my coffee. I have my daily dose of coffee and I go on with my life. I don’t obsessively search it out, but I’m super happy when something new comes my way.

Knowing this, I’ve really tried to stay away from the typical posts that pop up in my WordPress feeds, that being Lyric postings, news & speculation, and reactions/reviews. My Kpop days are technically reviews, but I wouldn’t say I review a song so much as a showcase a song that I think all Kpop listeners should hear while going through the genre. I really wanted a way to talk about new songs that weren’t so much judgement and I think I made something clever when I came up with 10 about. But it’s really unfortunate that I can cover a song for 10 about that gives visually stunning images but the song is not super good, and I’m SOL when songs like Recipe come along which don’t have a video. Videos like Seungri’s latest one and 2ne1’s latest are good to listen to and watch but not to take screen captures of. I would love to talk about videos I’ve just discovered, but I would love a new format, and I can’t think of one. This is kind of a rant, but if anyone has ideas for me, please let me know. The joy bursting out of me upon hearing Seungri’s new single makes me want to think of something fast because if I don’t I will turn into a confetti cannon of fangirl.

❤ Rebecca

Kpop Culture Day 6: Engl(r)ish?

English? I thought this was supposed to be KOREAN pop…

One of the most confusing aspects of Kpop to my friends that listen to other genres of music is the fact that I can sing along to many of the choruses in Kpop songs. I’ve listened to enough Korean to be able to get a feel for their syllables which really is weird for my friends, but they get really confused when THEY understand the choruses to the songs. Hence the subtitle to this blog post.

I always compare the relationship between Kpop and English to the relationship between American hip hop and Spanish. Since the market for rap in America is concentrated in urban areas, and because the Latino population is a decent sized chunk of major US cities, there’s a huge market for Spanish in hip hop songs. Likewise, English is often a secondary language in many nations in the world, meaning that even though English may not be spoken on the streets, it’s an effective language to learn if you want to communicate with many other nations. From a marketing stand point, the idea is that if a Korean song has several words in English, it hooks anyone who knows English into the song. That may be even more effective than hearing a whole song in English (Wow, fantastic baby?).

Culturally, English in Korea is viewed in a “hip” fashion. My Korean friend compares this to the American fad of getting tattoos or shirts with Chinese characters. Just like most people might know what the character means but not understand the character, Korean people might know what the English word means within the context of the Korean sentence but not understand the cultural implications or the usage of that particular word. This results in many songs with hit or miss English, what we call in America as Engrish. While English is viewed in Korea as hip, even if it is mispronounced, viewers who speak English find Engrish to be a spectacle and something that is to be laughed at. This is also hard when spreading the genre to people who don’t typically listen to foreign music as that becomes all they hear, while a typical Kpop listener views the Engrish as one aspect of a song. This reminds me of Yoseop Yang’s “Caffeine” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFIzLovJdiQ). It’s a beautiful song, with a great meaningful video, but the one Engrish lyric “Girl, you’re like a caffeine” is jarring and pulls you out of the song, which is unfortunate because it’s part of every chorus. The most unfortunate thing is that this mistake could have easily been finished by an English speaker, with the fix “Girl, you’re like a coffee” or “Girl, you’re like my caffeine”, both which convey the original meaning while still using articles correctly.

Speaking of coffee, beware of these phrases, which are “Engrish” but so widely use in Korea that they have been adopted by Korea and put into their language. They’re not technically incorrect when spoken since this is the correct way to use the word in the Korean language:

cuhpe – coffee
hopeu- Bar
han deu pon- cell phone
bbaek – supporter, second, back up plan
skinship- excessive (for Korea) touching in a relationship, cuddly
hwiting – rooting for you
hoo ra ing pan – Frying pan
Ke to ra e – Gatorade
Sa e ta – Sprite (but pronounced like cider)
Tee Bee – Not tuberculosis. TV.
And pretty much every fruit.

Then there’s English that is just plain bad or mispronounced. Sometimes the English is said correctly, but drops an important word in a phrase, often an article or modifier, that makes the phrase incomprehensible. Other times the error is in the pronunciation, which makes sense considering the following sounds which are separate in English come out of one letter in Hangul:

ㄹ= L/R
ㅈ = J/unaccented CH
ㅂ= B/unaccented P
ㄱ= G/unaccented K
ㄷ= D/unaccented T

They also do not have a sound for v or f, which explains the Hw substitution in fighting (hwiting) above, although according to wikipedia’s list of obsolete hangul letters, a version of F had existed in the past. They also have an additional vowel, ㅡ which sounds similar to ew in English, except you close your jaw and smile with all your teeth showing when you say it. I like to think of something icky when I say it and the grimace makes the ewww come out properly as ㅡ in hangul.

Lastly, the English in the song could be perfect grammatically and pronounced correctly, but the meaning is mistranslated when they were converting from the Korean equivalent to English.

A video that shows off these Engrish phrases is BAP’s Hurricane:

In this video, they say “We hurricane” (the lyrics say We’re hurricane, but they lie) when what they probably meant was “We’re hurricanes” which is still confusing and much less catchy. The most obvious Engrish phrase is “The loof is on fire” which comes from the mispronunciation of r in roof. Then the last one is in the first verse, with “I wanna baby”. What they probably mean is that they want a girlfriend or someone they can call baby, but what they said is that they want to get something pregnant. Ok boys, calm down.

These Kpop videos are not the only ones with Engrish. What’s your favorite Engrish phrase? Make sure to link the video it comes from when you comment so I can laugh my butt off at the original or lament at how the Engrish ruined a perfectly good song.

❤ Rebecca