OngOng, this is too prection

2AM’s Seulong just tweeted a picture from the filming of MBC’s sports Chuseok special. This is simply too precious.

Jinwoon, Dongwoon, Jaejin, Mir, and Key, you guys are precious. ❤

Super excited for Jinwoon’s ab show because it’s kept so well hidden. Pissed that Hara is not here – I want to see her run a race again without falling to see how much ass she would kick how fast she actually is.

And I realized that I’ve posted so many new things today, mostly irrelevant little stuff XD This blog is turning into a random blabber blog. Since I have my first lovely organic chemistry midterm coming up, I’ll probably not update for 6 +/- 4 days. And life goes on, Djokovic is still my favorite, 2NE1 will make music shows this week fun. And I got into the scholarship program I interviewed for! :3 Thanks everyone.

SKpop’s TOP 5: August 2010

So starting this month, I’m going to pick my favorite songs from the month and put in some comments! Anything goes, so that means they don’t have to be title songs, from idol groups, etc. but it will stay Korean fo sho. I stole this idea from a YouTube video I saw – five seems like a reasonable number, since no one pays attention past number 4 on a top 10 list anyway. Plus, this will allow me to spew thoughts on songs I probably wouldn’t have time to address.

And of course, it’d be so boring if this was just a regular top 5 list. So I’m adding a WTF!Panda Top 5 as well, for miscellaneous songs I want to comment on that don’t belong in the top 5 because 1.) I hate instead of love them, 2.) they’re way old, but I just have to comment, 3.) something about the song/lyrics/mv was just exceptional…ly weird.

#5 FT Island – Love Love Love
Yeah ok, I complained and moaned about FT Island’s emo music again and again, but I couldn’t help but fall back in love with their music. Sure, Hongki’s “pushing” motions get repetitive, but FT Island’s songs are so emotional, well-written, and well-song. And yes, I still do love angsty music. So for now, the FT Island boys are again back on my good side. And Hongki’s wine-colored Beethoven hair didn’t even bother me much – I thought it looked good.


Credit: AsianMusicWorldHD

#4 Shady Girl – Sistar

Hyorin is perfect. In all honestly, the girl is a fantastic live singer and has such a positive personality that simultaneously make me feel happier and depressed that I in comparison seem like a hardcore emo. Shady Girl is such an improvement over Push Push, especially because Boram, and to a slightly less extent Bora (the rapper), finally shows the world that omg, she has a voice. Dasom, unfortunately, is still a bit lost in the background, and come on, she even dyed her hair a horrible shade of hooker blonde. It’s another solid song that will help build up this rising rookie group’s resume. And Heechul ❤


Credit: iAznSamManMV

#3 I'll Be There – Taeyang
In Korea/Japan, G-Dragon and TOP are by far the most popular Big Bang members. However, overseas, especially in North America, Taeyang rules. He is so freaking popular here I don't even pretend to try to understand – we kind of see him as the Asian Usher/Ne-Yo, and though I don't see it/think he gets a bit overrated at times, there's no denying that more people from the U.S. watch Taeyang videos than any other Kpop act.

I more or less expected something like this from Taeyang – I Need a Girl was so not his style (because, surprise! It was supposed to be Se7en's song, nice to see how YG mix-and-match like that…), and though I enjoyed happy Taeyang, I know he loves his emo songs more – what set I'll Be There apart from Where U At and Wedding Dress, however, is that it is much more pop feeling. Yes, Where U At had enough Teddy-synths to blow the moon up, but it was at its base very R&B. I enjoy I'll Be There a lot, I like the dance, the MV, the dark concept, etc. It's very good, and the best I've seen from Taeyang yet.


Credit: YGTaeyang

#2 Hurricane Venus – BoA
BoA's epic mega comeback yielded her 6th Korean album that I didn't care for at all. It's always been like that, though, hit or miss. I love Valenti but Hurricane Venus was blah. Oddly, I didn't hate Game like everyone else (until Nikki from PRN revealed it was f(x)'s Ice Cream 2.0), but Hurricane Venus totally did not float my boat at first. However, it started growing on me, and I even used it at a recent party. For me to change my opinions on a BoA song is quite an accomplishment. Plus, she racked up the music show wins/album sales. My hat off to you, and welcome back!


Credit: sment

#1 Madonna – Secret
My blog, my choice 😛 MADONNA DONNA. I'm so happy that they moved out of their craphole basement apartment with the foil window. That was a huge no no. I've anticipated their comeback since Sunhwa's teaser pic was released, and loved them enough to even review their minialbum. The song is so catchy and fun, and most importantly stays true to the Secret style – they may be aiming to sell, but they aren't going to abandon their classy identity to do it. My last hopes against autotune-mania. Plus, I thought the MV was gorgeous. Remember that week when every girl group in existence seemingly came back? One had to stand at the top. Congrats, Secret!


Credit: iAznSamManMV

…and now

WTF Kpop?
WTF!Panda Top 5!

#5 Homme – I was Able to Eat Well

So I’ll keep this short since I’ve already written about this, but wut, I love 2AM and 8eight but please keep my Kpop superficial and country free. I’ll go home and listen to the radio if I really wanted to hear country. Actually, I’m just really surprised at how popular this song became – Cyworld Song of the Month? Okkkkkay Korea, it’s your call.

#4 Beside You – BoA

Yeah. See why I made this poll? This song came off her million-copy selling Valenti Japanese album in 2003, and it’s not even the title track. However, I only got around to listening to it about 7 years later. Have you heard it? Read the lyrics? OMFG IT’S SO MAGICAL. I love this song.


Credit: diando

#3 2Me – Kara

2Me, Me2, whatever it is, it’s another case of “Nicole refuses to proofread anything English for Kara” as one Omona! post so helpfully wrote 😉 I actually kind of like the song – it represents the ideal equilibrium of Kara cuteness with some electropop in there to prevent me from gagging at the sheer amount of sugar, spice, and everything nice present in certain other Kara songs (Rock U, Pretty Girl…-__- I’m judging you. I’ll forgive Pretty Girl for its positive message, however). But WTF. The LYRICS. I could not take the LYRICS. I’m willing to tolerate a lot lyrically, considering my own Korean is so damn broken, but they even have to make it sound like some adult phone service in ENGLISH. Touch me, hold me, teach me, take me… It’s the worst Kara-gedy since the AWESOME BEST NIKCUF FIVE shirts…

The only reason wankfest isn’t occurring is because they are singing it so happily and innocently. Can you imagine of After School rocked some of those lyrics? Let’s just say I know how Micky Yoochun bagged Kahi as his hot noona.

Your Engrish are belong to us

#2 First Round – Dalmatian

Yeah. Was not expecting that. Did you know that I actually was about to dedicate a post to them? Inati’s life story is so touching, plus I’m so happy that a non-Bieber age group debuted, plus I was willing to overlook their name because of their looks, and most importantly they seemed really well-trained and had previous experience. I expected…well…a MC Mong sounding song, since he is the  “seon saeng-nim,” or at least something catchy like Joosuc’s Pop and Drop, but First Round was so out of the blue. It’s not a bad song, but…er…WHERE ARE MY BAD BOYS T__T. The MR removed sounded good, though, so kudos to the boys.

#1 Utada Hikaru goes on 2+infinity hiatus and I want her album
See how major this news is? It’s Jpop but it made it on my blog. T__T Ok Hikki is a lazy cow for the slow rate she releases but OMG I cannot bear 2 years without her. I think I will shell out money to buy her Best of album. OMG so upset. Rest of you Kpoppers, go back to work.

…And ok, let’s add a third section of “Notable Kpop News”

#5 Park Gyuri went kumquat blonde. WTF. At least she looked better in subsequent pictures taken.

#4 Kara shakes booty in Japan, sells Lupin EP x2 amount of CDs in a month.

#3 SMTOWN 2010 in LA. I hate my UCLA friends. Tiffany, I can’t recognize you no more TT

#2 Eru – Tae Jin Ah – Choi Hee Jin conflicted often psychotic yet tragic but mostly confusing circle of accusations, blackmail, abortion, and sabotage.

#1 Tablo has some major problems with 130k+ netizens. I honestly think that they are attacking him due to his outspokeness on “controversial” topics like depression and lack of tolerance and understanding for psychotherapy in Korea/Asia in general. The man is very smart – I was watching his CNN interview yesterday, and I got to thinking. Here’s a guy who doesn’t just make music – he is intelligent enough that he actually observes the world and contemplates weighty issues. While other idols rub off as very materialistic and commercial (it’s all about their music or their sales), Tablo emanates the aura of a conflicted, contemplating soul. That’s why he’s so susceptible to these netizen attacks – his strength lies in his brilliance in the intake of ideas and the complex churning and processing that goes on in his mind to create cutting lyrics and profound writing. This is also his weakness – he takes in everything, even the baseless derision and accusations, and contemplates over them too much. All we can do now is pray the courts shut the netizens up and hope Tablo stays strong 😦

Back to the 2NE1 album – gotta get at least 3 more repeats before I can start reviewing.

Korea likes Country?/KIM SEOBANG/Mamma Mia, it’s Narsha!

So I’m casually stalking the charts today, and I see that Homme’s I was Able to Eat Well is doing spectacularly on the charts, and it was even running against BoA last week on Mubank (I think) for the win.

The excessive bromance aside, this song, I agree, is as close to Kpop country as you can get. For those of you who’ve never suffered – err, I mean, experienced, the “joy” that is American country, you may go YouTube some Kenny Chesney or Sugarland (and those are actually decent performers, I’m not that mean) for a crash course intro. Since I lived for many years in a place where the radios are 75% country stations, country’s not exactly my cup of tea. For me, Homme’s song is ok – Lee Hyun is a fantastic singer but Changmin’s voice has never been my favorite, but nonetheless they duet well together. The song’s way too chipper, happy, and country for me. As an FYI, a successful country song must feature some kind of loss – a running joke was that if you play a country song backwards, you regain your dead dog, dead wife, and burned down house. Or the song could be full of how you’re going to take revenge on your cheating significant other – that works too.

Next, for any followers of 4minute: one of their backup dancers is catching a lot of attention because, admittedly, he’s a hottie. Kim “Seobang” (it’s not his real name but a fanmade nickname that stuck) is a Cube trainee and does a lot of back up dancing (if you also follow WGM, he was the guy who danced with Gain on the Mucore special where Kwon performed The Day I Confessed), and he even has his own tumblr dedicated to him, which of course is the sign of ultimate success.

Here’s the exciting news – apparently he will debut soon! I stalked Soompi and found a fanaccount from a fan who went to deliver food to 2AM/BEG:

The dosirak [lunch] arrived and…2AM’s manager came out with a handsome(?) person~ [Kim Seobang!]
He said that he had to call Kyungsun (BEG’s manager) since it was too much stuff…while we waited…
We talked about this and that..I talked a lot today.
The manager…asked if we really donated money..and he said that the person who was with him was going to debut later. The manager said that he is already popular..ke..I asked in what team he would be and I said stuff jokingly, like if I should get his autograph beforehand…
I didn’t mention it first but he said immediately “21700000~!!” keke it made me a bit satisfied keke
It didn’t come to my mind back then~ but he was the person who danced with Gain at Kwon’s “The Day I Confessed” stage on Music Core…hm…

So basically Seobang came to help carry the lunch, the manager mentioned he’ll debut soon, and the fan realizes at the end it’s the guy who danced with Gain which = Seobang.

😀 I just enjoy connecting the dots.

Finally, Narsha’s Mamma Mia is released!

Yeah, I won’t be surprised if it gets banned, but again, such a nicely produced song – I swear Narsha’s solo debut was the nicest non-mainstream thing to happen in 2010 – yeah, you can argue her music is still commercial in the end, but it’s pretty clear she doesn’t care what public reception is like and is mostly concerned with experimenting and creating music that defines her. The NARSHA minialbum had a fantastic variety of music, not just your typical “dance track, boring filler ballad, another dance track” – every song was just so unique that it seems like she was creating a work of art, and didn’t care if others found it ugly.

From my understanding, Mamma Mia is about false fronts we create to impress others to hide our true selves – Narsha more or less whores around with a bunch of Caucasian guys (yay racial diversity?) to impress the Sunny Hill girls who follow her around (and another yay for featuring underappreciated artists!), but toward the end of the video, where she locks Sunny Hill out and is with the guys all by herself, her true identity – that of a shy, awkward girl, resurfaces. Then she shuts the blinds and god knows what happens. I give Narsha applauses for showing less-than-the-average-awkward Kdrama kisses, where the actresses look like stiff boards and the guy looks like he’s having a seizure -__-. That’s what age and experience gets you, huh?

And we shall be checking up on the Japan debuts soon! May Fany’s leg heal fast! Ankle injuries suck.

Credit:
Mamma Mia: BestofAsianTV (O Rly? Lol I jest)

But in 2010, New > Old

So I just wrote about how 2010 = 2009 in terms of ‘quality of songs’ (you know we don’t listen to Kpop for quality). However, 2010 really should’ve been bigger than 2009.

As I look back at who came back in 2010, I’m utterly amazed that Kpop is NOT exploding in sheer awesomeness right now. So many big name, legendary artists emerged from the woodworks after spending years AWOL, and your standard top-of-the-pack groups almost all came back, and the sheer anticipation was on the verge of nuclear holocaust. But then, what happened?

Wonder Girls came back! Finally, the first ‘current generation’ girl group to reach superstardom returns from the U.S.! But 2 Different Tears was a hot mess of overanticipation of something better than TellSoNo, short promotion time, wtfbbq only a single?!?, and Sunmi’s departure.

U-Go-Hyori, the queen bee herself! It’s been 2 years! I actually thought Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was pretty good, but the plagiarism thing completely tanked her.

Rain! Hot abs ninja assassin looked to shock all with something better than Rainism. But he really should’ve put out a full album, because Love Song was just meh for me at least. The sales were ok, but not explosive like Rainism.

Gummy! The soul-voice of YG had been gone since FOREVER, and suddenly she emerges with her Loveless minialbum. Actually, I loved it. But sadly, idols are all the hype these days, and poor Gummy didn’t get the popular reception she really should have received (come on, flower boy Kim Hyunjoong was even in the freaking mv, what more strings was she supposed to pull?!?). The sales were actually ok, but it could and should have been bigger. My Gummy bias 😛

Se7en. Legend. Passion. Returns from the U.S. Again, should have had a full album, and despite his brilliant live performances (Better Together was actually a decent song), his sales are bad, and his fanbase, very weakened.

And the trump card, even BoA returned after 5 FREAKING YEARS. It’s way to early to see her album sales, but to me, that album was extremely disappointing. I think I’m not alone in noticing her music deteriorating in style over the years–honestly, BoA had edgy songs, cool dance moves and music videos, but Hurricane Venus was so dull compared to say, Girls on Top, and I personally attribute it too overwork–Japan and especially the U.S. just drained her. Sometimes I wish artists would just stay in Korea like Hyori–she knows where her base is at and sticks to it, and that’s why she’s the “Nation’s Fairy.”

And to list other hype/disappointments, After School’s Bang! was so meh compared to Because of You, 2pm’s Without U just wasn’t up to par with what 2pm can dish out, Son Dambi barely made an impact with Queen, 4minute had pretty bad sales, f(x) got gypped out of an award, 2NE1 and Big Bang are MIA (yes yes I know BB is in Japan), Seo Taiji got beaten by Jay Park, etc. etc.

Why? Primarily, the fans’ expectation of come backs better than the best works of the artists’ careers was simply too unrealistic. Even if the songs were pretty good, it wasn’t better, so fans were disappointed. I know I was somewhat disappointed.

However, I have been surprised by handfuls of acts this year, and now I think about it, they all came from groups who never had overwhelming success previously or were new acts. 2AM’s Can’t Let You Go Even if I Die/I Did Wrong back-to-back wowed both the charts and myself (it was one of those hits where you’re like, oh, yeah that song was good but never gave it too much thought, then looked back and realized, holy crap, their minialbum did really well), Kara finally had a bit hit with Lupin without choosing the wrong title song, CN Blue’s Loner indirectly lured me on the path of full Kpop obsession, Beast finally overcame their ‘reject group’ label with Shock, miss A again proved to me rookies were worth paying attention to (then Girl’s Day quickly disproved that, oh man I should really stop hating on them, Control was actually really good), and most recently SHINee finally made my summer spectacular with the best album of the year. The fact that I feel more excited about Secret’s comeback than I felt about BoA’s just confirms the new/newish groups are the ones creating the drive in 2010—old names simply aren’t performing on par.

And people are getting overly annoyed that so many new groups are debuting this year. While I will probably put up subsequent posts that mirror the public opinion, I can’t help but feel that, well, it’s always been this way. New groups announce debuts. The crowd groans and rolls their eyes. If their debut sucks they get bashed mercilessly. If they were ok they still get bashed mercilessly. You get the idea. I was rummaging through some old news tidbits and stumbled upon some written about Davichi during their debut–omg Kang Minkyung isn’t an ulzzang, stick to R&B, 8282 sucks, and most hilariously, they need singing lessons zomg. Personally I think Davichi can sing quite well, tyvm, and if you put them next to the idol world, wow, give them a Nobel Peace Prize for actually having talent now please. Hopefully you get the idea–as Seo In Young said recently, “Anyone can debut. The important part comes after.” All new groups will get crap dumped in their face, but they should consider it a weird, cultish welcome. Should they pass the initiation, they will have lots of diehard fans willing to put their lives on the line to defend them and buy their cds, posters, socks, and whatever product their company puts out to milk the fans for all their won.

Predictions for the rest of 2010

So with 2010 more than half-ways behind us, I decided to make a little prediction on who’s coming back when.
Red = comeback confirmed, Purple = my guess only

August is going to be a fun month, with Se7en, SHINee, and BoA all actively promoting. I think this will be better than the Rain-Hyori-2pm clash during May (especially since I believe the August contenders are musically a little more standout at this point). T-ara is confirmed for an album (full album? But my prayers are never answered that well…) in September/October. Rainbow will be back September, hopefully with much improvement from Gossip Girl. Both Kahi and Gain have solo activities lined up for September, ironic that it’s yet another Pledis/NegaNetwork clash after Son Dambi/Narsha.

For my predictions, I see a 50/50 chance of 2NE1–rumors are they are already working on choreo/album, but for some reason I don’t feel a comeback. But they have to. So either they’ll come out early, say September or early October at the latest, or not at all.

Will the Wonder Girls return to Korea? Their summer was hella hectic, but I feel 2DT was too rushed and didn’t really make an impact. If they have plans, it’ll not be until 2011. Similarly, I think 2pm is going to be back either really late 2010 or early 2011. However, I feel the 2AM boys will be back in October/November. They only have one mini-album under their belts since debut, so a full album is due.

4minute is done for the year, especially with Japan promotions. MBLAQ is probably also done, but a late 2010 comeback is remotely possible. I feel BEAST will be back in November. They’ve more or less wrapped up overseas promotions and it’s been a while since Shock of the New Era.

I don’t predict anything from the Soshi girls in 2010 since I think they’re the only group preparing to enter Japan seriously (meaning long-term), but SM might have changed strategies after DBSK/BoA, so a late-year mini-album is possible. Big Bang seems to still be promoting in Japan, with their new single Beautiful Hangover soon to be released, so I don’t think we’ll see them until 2011. But do remember T.O.P. was working on an album before he started filming Into the Fire, so expect that to drop late 2010/early 2011 before any Big Bang comebacks.

Kara is sticking around in Japan for only about a month, so I predict they may pop out a mini-album in December (a third album would be nice, too). Some sixth sense (that does not see dead people, tyvm) tells me Brown Eyed Girls will be back in action in December. SIGN was so long ago. UKISS, too, has been missing, since Man Man Hani, so they might return in November/December. After School won’t return as a full group until their last subunit promotes, so it’s 2011 for them. f(x) needs a late year mini-album turnaround, but I just feel SM is semi-giving up.

The New Year will be interesting indeed. By that time, maybe miss A will release a second mini-album! Talk about time and progression–rookies don’t stay rookies for long, do they? Let’s check back on this in 2011 and see how many I got right.

Where to watch subbed WGM and other stuff

So I’m a huge sucker for the MBC show We Got Married, and if you haven’t heard of it before, essentially two Korean celebrities join in a pretend marriage and have to live with each other and do all kinds of missions, creating endless opportunities for hilarity. And whenever the couple starts “skinship” (aka begin holding hands -__-) we the audience giggle and gasp like little elementary schoolers at a magic show.

Most recently the show has been taken over by idols ever after the Adam Couple of Gain and Jo Kwon helped revive season 2 from near death. Now 2 other couples, of SNSD’s Seohyun and CN Blue’s Jung Yonghwa and 2pm’s Nichkhun and f(x)’s Victoria have also entered WGM for an 100% idol-loving couplefest.

It took me forever to locate all the YouTube channels that sub each couple, so I thought I’d at least share what I’ve gathered.

Adams (Gain-Jo Kwon):
snjeung1 has the quickest subs I know of, and has since started hardsubbing so you can download the subs easier. She also subs other BEG related goodies like Heroes.
Kkaplinesubs has, I think, the nicest, most complete translations, plus they upload on Dailymotion so the videos are less likely to be removed! They release slower than most groups, but the product is nice.
And of course, T2ssubs’s WGM channel of lovely 2OneDay subs all your OneDay related needs.

Yongseo (Seohyun-Yonghwa)
Yukiandjudy amaze me with their speed of translating. I am in awe–within 24 hours of live broadcast, they’d be done.
Rundevilrunsubs is a nice project that provides slightly more complete subs.

Khuntoria (Victoria-Nichkhun)
T2ssubs releases Khuntoria before Adam, so this is the fastest access to subbed Khuntoria episodes.
Affxtion (f(x)’s international forum) has also started subbing (and I think they are still doing Invincible Youth), though you need to be a registered member of the forum with 30+ posts to download (YouTube kept on removing their videos).

Keep in mind YouTube channels are constantly banned and new channels are made, so keep updated through their Twitter and I’ll try to update this page should anything change.

Really random…

So the recent influx of horrible Engrish reminded me of something. Weeks ago I was riding my bike and suddenly a thought popped into my head. It seems you really can’t learn a language unless you become fully immersed in it. Riding around in my small college town, I thought, what if an idol just vanished for, say, 2 years and came here, registered as an international student, and just blend in with the background? No one would ever know them here.

For some reason, Hyori of all people came to mind. She’s wealthy enough that she can take a long hiatus without worrying about being buried by the pressures of promotion. Plus she’d definitely fit in with her not asian at all hair color. Huh, imagine if I saw Hyori walking around campus one winter day, books in hand…that’d be the day.

But, yeah, I totally encourage idol study abroad. For their sake and mine.