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?

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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)

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.

I’m sorry…are you two genetically related?

I am so tired. Why did I go to sleep at 3? Waking up at 7 = major T__T. So in a few hours SHINee will take the stage on Music Bank, and unlike yesterday I will get a nice night of sleep so I will be happy and alert when I watch a nice HD recording tomorrow night.

Minho will not be dancing but he will be performing, so he’ll probably be like f(x)’s Amber and sit and rap on a chair. That I personally found so damn awkward. Thankfully, I had a brilliant flash of ideas thanks to T.O.P. on how to remedy the situation: I would like to suggest that, instead of sitting on some bar stool, Minho should recline on a BA pimped-out Lazyboy.


Can you say major pimp? And the rest of SHINee can change their choreo so that they’ll dance around Minho, turning him from an injured eyesore into the king daddy of attention.

Now that we’re talking about rappers…

The meat of the story. Yeah, I know there are a million lookalikes in Kpop–Minzy/Daesung, CL/Jung Juri/that Sistar girl Hyolin (?), but there are some that never get pointed out that are SO noticeable for me.

First, Bekah of After School and Miryo of BEG. Both are badass rappers with major talent, and I came to believe the 6 degrees of separation thing after I discovered a friend’s friend’s friend’s sister personally knew Bekah (during her Hawaii days), and apparently she’s very nice. Anywho:


Dude. They’re the same person. Ok, at least long lost sisters with a 10-year age gap.

And here’s another one. I personally believe Jiyoon of 4minute is the female Key. Say what now? I’m not kidding. For me, it’s not only looks but mostly voice. I just think the timbre and singing style of Jiyoon and Key are so similar that they are opposite gender versions of each other. Plus Jiyoon’s boyish and everyone in SHINee was very feminine once upon a time, so that lessens the difference.

Witness examples of their vocal similarities. Neither’s voices are super slick, but have this slight rough grit that really adds soul to their voices.

…and finally, I even found pictures where they dress exactly like each other! Junglasses Jiyoon and, er, Key?

I’m also noticing something pleasant today. So as you know, rookie group miss A captured their first award with their debut song. 2010 has been really friendly to rookies, you know? Compared with the talentless hacks debuting left and right this year (*cough Girl’s Day), last year rookie groups of exceptional caliber were literally getting scalped (2NE1, 4minute). This year, two rookie groups have won titles with their debut songs–CN Blue with I’m a Loner (yeah ok they’ve been so successful barely anyone remembers them as 2010 rookies anymore) and now miss A with Bad Girl Good Girl. And there was no hate (outside the Yonghwa is the only reason CN Blue is popular thing). People patted these two groups on the back, said they deserved it, and moved on.

Let’s review last year. 2NE1 was hated on so much with Fire. Sandara Palmtree, CL and Minzy are ugly, Bom is fat, Fire sucks, where the hate equaled the caliber of love they received. It got really bad when I Don’t Care proceeded to hand SNSD’s Genie and the rest of Kpop a royal asswhooping during promotions and at the end-of-year award shows. Though I still dislike hardcore Blackjacks due to their aggressiveness, I can’t entirely blame them–they were “created” during violent times. 4minute won with Hot Issue but crap was already all over the place about copying, bad fashion, and Hyuna, and to this day both groups have as many antis as older groups. So far, it seems antis are in therapy because the new groups are pretty safe.

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.

Battle of the Comeback Queens: Son Dambi vs. Narsha

So I decided to scrap a lot of projects I wanted to do to write this. I’m at the height of the most excitement I’ve felt about Kpop this year for a few months.

This year for me was just dull as summer rolled around–notice how the majority of the Mubank, Melon, and Cyworld top songs were from very early on during the year. f(x), 4minute, 2pm, BEAST, Suju etc. failed to impress me, MBLAQ’s Y slightly piqued my interest, new groups aside from miss A have not really fascinated me, and even Hyori and Rain and Taeyang didn’t make me get excited to the point where I’ll think about how awesome their songs were when I’m going to sleep. I kept on thinking, where’s the “Gee” of 2010?

Turns out, we needed some new divas aside from Hyori to spice up the summer. Pledis queen Son Dambi and BEG’s resident diva Narsha both released mini-albums and mvs within the same week, titled Queen and NARSHA respectively. Dambi’s never really caught my attention despite being touted as the next Hyori (what happened to BoA as the standard), and her biggest hit, Saturday Night, was forgettable. I liked her in Amoled, but 1.) it was a CF and 2.) she was propped by After School.

Her title song, ‘Queen,’ attempts to depart from her previous label of sexy (or shekshi as I should say) into more classy albeit still autotuned tunes. To me it was ok, fun to listen to but entirely forgettable. There was no annoying/good hook to make me remember the song. Now her mv is under fire for plagiarism (what else is new) for copying a Syfy show, of all things.

Narsha’s done good self-promoting, now that I look at it. She really showed her personality through variety shows like SGB and Invincible Youth, and I have to say she’s hilarious. NegaNetwork really pushed promoting first Gain and then Narsha, and I personally was obsessed with Gain for a while because she looked to freakin’ hot in Abracadabra. Now I realize that Narsha is the real jewel of the group. Gain is actually kind of dry and nervous on variety, while Narsha just seems like an endless cornucopia of fun. She’s confident borderline cocky, but gives obvious targets for others to attack and generate additional hilarity (read: her age XD). She’s variety TV gold. The TV appearances are super critical, I think, is what will save her new song Bbi-Ri-Bop-A from making her seem unacceptably eccentric. This is extremely important actually. BRBA is going to come under a lot of crap especially if it blows up to be a hit (which I predict it will), and Narsha will need to separate herself from her music to show that her song doesn’t represent her as a person. Lee Jonghyun, labeled Korea’s Lady Gaga, suffered this problem.

BRBA to me was a good listen, but also not standout. Then the MV was released. This also didn’t make me fall in love with it, but I really did appreciate the excellent quality of the MV. I think it’s the best MV of summer 2010, edging out even Hyori’s CCBB. As I rewatched the MV for the third time, I really appreciated the artistic details of the scenes–the contrast of color with black and white filming, the tasteful use of CGI effects, etc. It really blows recent MVs away. However, To balance Dambi’s plagiarism issue, Narsha is now under fire for religious controversy for sacrilegious images/satanic worship/all that jazz in the MV.

Let’s get to the dirty. Gaga. Bad Romance. The resemblances are so apparent I won’t even bother defending anyone here. The catchy nonsensical chant, the melodically contrasting chorus, the whole prayer robes stained red thing, whatever. I don’t think Narsha deliberately copied Gaga. But I’m not going to say it’s unique either. I just want to judge it as itself as a piece of music.

I was undecided on whose comeback was better–until I saw Mubank recaps.

Narsha blew me, Dambi, and whoever else performed, far, far away. It was good. It was so good. I got excited. Narsha’s never been a strong dancer, and didn’t do anything fancy, but her stage presence was AMAZING. Every second captivated me. I remembered being semi-dismissive after her first track, I’m in Love, was released, but boy, have I changed my mind. Dambi was just no match. The Can’t U See intro was the only good part of her comeback. Queen was so…Dambi sounding…that it was just plain and ok (definitely not bad, that’d be Girl’s Day, but just no match for Narsha). Plus, I realized the importance of Narsha being more talented vocally. Two mostly autotuned songs, but when performed live and the chorus needs to be belted, Narsha delivers and Dambi doesn’t. Dambi’s performance wants you to find her vocals acceptable (and they’ve been improving) and instead really focus on her dancing. Narsha’s performance wants you to be captivated, and her vocals, though nowhere as fantastic as Jea’s, are strong and has flair.

Narsha’s not performing on Mucore, which may either be NegaNetwork artists never do or, as I believe, is due to Gain and Kwon’s WGM’s situation with MBC. Gain showed up on SBS Family Outing and majorly POed MBC WGM executives. Gain and Kwon are too popular to be dropped, but rumors were that MBC was giving BEG a hard time performing on their network. I’m POed, but won’t rant about the stupid media system now. I’ll wait to see if she performs at Inkigayo, and will have to settle with Dambi tonight.

I think BRBA could be the next big thing in Kpop. It’s my tentative prediction entirely off gut feeling. I haven’t felt this excited, as I said, since, oh, maybe Lupin. On charts Dambi is selling slightly better than Narsha, and though both songs are climbing, Queen is higher up. But both songs are less than a week old, and the live performances which I think are hugely influential in people’s perception of these two songs have yet to register.

As album sales figure majorly in Mubank, I don’t think either can win K-Chart anytime soon as Taeyang will dominate (Solar normal edition is now beating Repackaged Bonamona). However, M!Countdown and Inkigayo are real possibilities, though I predict miss A will sneak in a win in between. They are running strong on Dosirak, Soribada, and Melon now at number 1.

I’ll most likely post reviews on Narsha’s mini-album, Taeyang’s Solar, a Suju review, something about SHINee, and exciting random fun. Dambi I’m going to pass on for now, because I don’t predict it to explode (maybe a M!Countdown win, but that’s it). Narsha I wasn’t planning on reviewing either, but hey, circumstances change.

Here’s both’s Music Bank comeback/debuts and their respective MVs.
Son Dambi

Narsha