Gain-unnie saranghaeyo

I’m sick. And I have a physics test Friday. THIS SPELLS IMPENDING DISASTER DDDDD:

Cr: milesedi2

OMG MY UNNIE WON INKIGAYO. As I was pulling my all nighter studying, I somehow enjoyed up jumping up and down and screaming with joy as Inkigayo announced the results. I have never been this excited about a music show before in my life.

Mad props to NegaNetwork + Loen for really impressing me with their stuff their artists have been putting out this year

Cr: KyuleeKPOPMV

Unlike 2NE1’s Go Away, with which I had major problems with the tacky acting and excessive DNW CGI, Gain kept this ten-minute business classy and professional – I bought the message the MV was trying to sell, and I bought it hard. I haven’t been so sad after a MV like this since watching 2AM’s I Was Wrong under extreme sleep-deprived conditions or the only SM masterpiece that was Zhang Liyin’s Timeless. This business better win MV of the Year please (and why was Can’t Nobody nominated in place of Go Away?).

 

Oh, and belated Happy Halloween!

Cr: SHINeeTimes2

My two favorite jailbaits performing on the same stage *o* And shush about the floor-humping, it’s a Michael Jackson move ok?

I’ll be listening to this a lot next week…

Credit: MiChiVisualeuse

Wait until you YouTube muddy cult. Be warned! That MV was a little too visceral for my taste. But Nega’s bipolar musical quality contrasting haunting guitar lines plus piano with suicidal screamo is so soul-wrenching and precious for some reason. Plus, this will make for perfect emo-music as I hit the library for physics tomorrow. Some Kara Rollin’ would so not fit the mood (aka I HATE PHYSICS GO DIE NOW).

Remember that I came upon Kpop from J-rock. I honestly had no interest in music beyond classical and my orchestra/band repertoire until I happened upon a certain J-rock band called Nightmare, and from then on my life became so musically rich, from the current radio pop to underground indie to Brit rock to Swedish metal, and yes, even High School Musical for a week (after which I was so traumatized I don’t even give Glee a chance). I even started singing again, and all was happy and flowers. For some reason, Jpop was never my jam, but I kept on seeing videos of J-rock vs. K-rock and, naturally, J-pop vs. Kpop videos. I’m pretty sure my first Kpop videos were of DBSK, Suju, and the like, but for the longest time I thought boy bands were in general ridiculous.

The first Kpop video that really stuck to me was this, of all things.

Credit: hazerxx

Impression 1: what kind of name was SS501? I just finished the WWII portion of my history course then, and the SS
Waffen definitely came to mind…

Impression 2: o.O wow the dancing was really synchronized. And the guys were kind of attractive.

Then came the Brown Eyed Girls (Abracadabra got me in, but it was their first two albums that made me stay), then Ring Ding Dong, then 2pm, 2NE1, and my life was over. When I started watching 2NE1TV 24 hours before my chem final…er, let’s just say I am extremely grateful for my grades. That was on top of the WGM I was already watching (but thankfully before I found sites with updated subs, so I only had 16 episodes to work with), and once summer started I watched every SNSD variety show in two weeks. The excessiveness burned out really quickly, though, so now I am grateful to have Kpop as a good diversion to keep the equilibrium of my day.

I’m excited to return to normal blogging soon. I am a 2NE1 and Japan Invasion review behind, plus Beast is coming back next week. Look out for a September Top 5 post, first. I still need to get two midterms over with, though, and schedule out 15 hours of mandatory volunteering, all for next week. Organic chemistry went surprisingly well, so I’m comforted (probably false hope >.<) that my hardest course is manageable with some efficient studying. For all you students out there, don't forget to hit the books! It's all about the self-discipline.

Co-Ed…?

Dear Co-Ed:

How did we go from this:

To this?

It’s similar to the concept of that other mixed group that debuted even worse than Nine Muses did (F1rst), but since Co-Ed has at least Soomi of ex-Seeya, they immediately get an up for having a non-whiny, talented vocalist. However, I saw a predebut video of that “Little Goo Hara” girl, Hyewon (or should I say “One Star Hyewon” now) singing, and that girl sings like Hyuna – good projection, poor pitch control. To this day I’m still questioning why Core chose to stick that girl under Hara’s shadow of all people – I can’t tell the facial resemblance at all, Hara’s a DSP artist, and as much as I love that girl to death, she can’t sing (and DSP is too cheap to even train her to be adequate). It’s like calling a girl “Little Yoona” or “Little Sulli.” You are asking for the ZOMGoverrated trolls.

Their stage names are also very DBSK, with some pithy, symbolic epithet before their names:
Balance Noori (가온누리)
Smile Soomi (미소수미)
Rascal Kwanghaeng (악동광행)
Star Light Chanmi (별빛찬미)
Hot Blood Kangho (열혈강호)
Solid Sungmin (알찬성민)
Sage Taewoon (지혜태운)
Sky Earth Yoosung (천지유성)
One Star Hyewon (한별혜원)
One Light Hyoyoung (한빛효영)

^It sounds a lot better in Korean, but still kind of tacky.

However, Core has promised no “bling bling song,” opting instead for a strong, electro beat. Well, you know me, if it’s anything T-ara like I’ll eat it up.

Lastly, I don’t know who this guy is (yet) but this was too funny not to include.

OIC. JYP, SM, DSP – just give me a Lil’ TOP or Mini-zy and my life will be perfect.

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.