Kpop Intros – The Bloody Footsteps

One of the things that makes Kpop music videos Kpop, is the overly indulgent introduction. Well, actually not just the intro, the whole bloody thing is generally self indulgent please-look-at-me-for-15%-to-50%-longer-than-the-length-of-the-song-ness. Or in TVXQ’s case, 200% longer than the actual song by adding other songs and a short movie!

Tangent.

Back to point. Kpop is indulgent with the MV’s and is generally known for being kinda same-y. But that’s what’s part of it’s charm. You kinda know what you’re gonna get and you’re probably going to like it, but they just add a twist so it feels a little bit new. But there’s only so many twists you can do before something comes back full circle.

Take Kpop’s intros for example. At this stage they seem to come standard issue. You can have general atmospheric sound to set the tone (Breath by Beast or Like This by Wonder Girls), a phone call conversation (2NE1’s I Don’t Care or GD and Park Myung Soo’s I’m Having an Affair), sound effects to set the scene (Fiction by Beast or Supa Luv by Teen Top) or you could just pretend that your song is part of a J.R.R.Tolken novel. Literally, anything goes. So why oh why would you need to have the same Kpop intro sound exactly like another existing Kpop song?

More specifically, the bloody footsteps…

The use of sfx is an opportunity to indicate to the listener something relevant to the song without saying it verbally. Beast does this well in Fiction, by using the pencil scratching sfx to indicate that this song’s love story is a work of fiction. Less integral to the song, Teen Top just uses sci-fi sfx to ease you into it’s electro auto-tuned sound. However, footsteps say nothing.

People walk, and thus foot step sounds are made. People walk for a variety of reasons. When I hear footsteps, I don’t wonder where they’re walking to or why someone is walking because it’s impossible to know just from that sound. There is no added information to be gained by the listener from listening to footsteps apart from “Ah this song probably isn’t about a paraplegic”.

The fact that people have used this meaningless sound effect as an intro is fair enough.

The fact that people are copying it just feels very lazy.

The fact that they’re all just swanning around in this useless time filler just makes me want to shout at my monitor – “Hurry up and just sing the bloody song!”


Added at a later date:

If you know of more, please pop the link in the comments. I’d like to get a Footsteps category of Kpop going.

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DBSK’s Saesangs – Fans that love them too much.

I wanted to write a bit about the awesomeness of DBSK before getting into their controversies but recent news compels me to write about their number one hardship; their fans.

Seems like a trivial thing to say. “Oh boo hoo, my fans love me too much. What a cruel cruel world~”, but in DBSK’s case, it’s true and when I say fan I mean, criminal psychopathic fans, aka Saesangs.

“Sasaeng” (사생) is short for “sasaenghwal” (사생활), which in Korean means “privacy” or “private life.” Essentially they are the fans who what to know everything about and try to be a part of their idol’s private life. Everyone dreams about having drinks with their favourite celebrity but that’s not what saesangs are about. They take it to a negative, criminal and psychopathic level.

Saesang fans are a separate group to the anti-fans, groups that hate specific idols. Anti-fans known simply as antis, hate their chosen idols and wish harm upon them, which DBSK are also no stranger to. In 2006 Yunho was poisoned by an anti with super glue. After vomiting blood, he was rushed to hospital and later recovered.

 

As disturbing as that is, Saesangs are worse than antis and the worst saesang fans are known to belong to DBSK. Or you could say DBSK belong to them…

The motivation of an anti is to hurt their targets. DBSK’s antis want to hurt DBSK. Simple.

The motivation of a Saesang is to be remembered by their chosen idols. DBSK’s Saesangs want to be imprinted on DBKS’s life in any way possible, and the easiest way is a negative way. Unlike regular people who at most buy some tabloid magazines with their idol’s photos inside, Saesangs don’t have a line.


There have been many reports, some even occurring  in the news, about Saesang conduct, but here’s the news fresh from today. Note how whenever there is talk of Saesangs, DBSK and JYJ are always involved. Poor guys 😦

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Dongbangshinki aka DBSK aka TVXQ… – Part 1 a Brief Intro

So the real purpose of this post was The Part 2 but, it wouldn’t really be fair to just jump into the middle of a joke and expect everyone to get it. So here is a brief introduction to Dong Bang Shin Ki (Korean full name) aka DBSK (Korean short) aka THSK (Japanese short) aka To Ho Shin Ki (Japanese full name) aka TVXQ (International short) aka Tong Vfang Xien Qi (Chinese full name). Basically, they all mean or stand for “Rising Gods of the East”.

Who the hell are they? They’re these guys.

Continue reading

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CNBlue – First Step (towards being a pack of douche bags)

I don’t like CNBlue!

I’ve only knowingly listened to one of their songs. The song’s not even that bad. However, the music video is terrible!

So yes, I am shallow. I dislike CNBlue because of the only music video of theirs that I’ve ever been bothered to watch. I also judge books by their covers. So there.

Sepia vignette says ‘We’re old school and keepin’ it real!’

What’s so bad about CNBlue? Well, judging from what their music video told me, their either LIARS or just very very naive. Despite how they would like to portray themselves, they are in fact not ‘bad boys’.

It could just be the whole cultural misunderstanding of what a ‘bad boy’ really is. The Urban Dictionary’s account for what a bad boy is, is

he’s independent and willful; he does what he wants when he wants; he doesn’t follow trends, they follow him; he often looks scruffy, but hip; he’s not looking for trouble, but there’s a sense of danger about him. He’s a heartbreaker with five o’clock shadow.

OK, just going on the 5 o’clock shadow thing alone, I can safely say

THERE’S NO SUCH THINGS AS BAD BOYS IN KPOP!

Sorry Big Bang but you’re wrong!

I would also like to state what a bad boy isn’t. A bad boy isn’t a guy that wears make up in order to look pretty. A bad boy isn’t super fashionable and constantly kitted out in brand new clothing. A bad boy doesn’t accept advertising deals.

Back to CNBlue. I’m simply speculating and my opinion is based on nothing, but I honestly believe that CNBlue take up a ‘bad boy’ image because, that’s the cool thing to do in a rock band. Ironically, in the rock industry, there could be nothing more conformist than having a rebellious persona, especially when you’re actually a bunch of mummies boys!

CNBlue Christmas Morning: The angst of only getting clothes as gifts.

OK, enough CNBlue bashing. Let’s get to the CNBlue music video bashing!

This music video would like to take you on a journey of a night with the badasses known as CNBlue. You will be a witness to their crimes and independence and I don’t give a f*ck attitude. Open video on a cityscape at night, all skyscrapers and street lamps. So much potential for mayhem! Are you ready? CNBlue are!

They’ve got gas masks ffs!

This is going to be good! Oh, no, wait, they took them off already… never mind. So they’re off. They’re a hustling down the walkway by a freeway, and omg! No they didn’t! They’re J-walking! Sure there’s no traffic on the road but still. They just risked their lives with reckless abandon. Such bad boys!

What’s next on the bad boy agenda? Graffiti! That’s what. Graffiti for days!

This’ll show ’em who’s boss!

Tagging your name, I’m ok with that as long as it’s somewhat artistic and I give a lot of artistic leeway in terms of the talent department. Not everyone can be Banksy. But spraying lines with no meaning, just to ruin something is pretty douche baggy in my opinion. Whatever about your independence, drawing lines is pointless. It says nothing except F U to all those who walk by.

Funnily enough, this kind of graffiti doesn’t happen in Korea, at least not in my experience.  I doubt they understand how douche baggy the act of drawing pointless lines really is. They, or their music video director probably just saw it in a movie once and decided to copy it. So in this case CNBlue have a choice between being copy cats, not very independent/bad boy or being douche bags.

They then trespass their way to a skyscraper rooftop jam, shrugging off waygook (Korean for foreigner) security guards, hopping over turn styles (oh when will the rebellion end?) and doing the compulsory rap part in a shiny room/corridor, all along the way.

Shiny hallway rap. Double safe!

 

On the roof they have a nice singalong in their Sunday best; blazers and things, apart from one guy who’s only wearing a semi casual new black leather jacket (the bad boy of the bad boy group).

At the very end, the waygook security squad reach the roof only to find that the boys have vanished, leaving their name painted in massive writing on the roof.

A hillarious observation from TheProcrastinator42 commented on their youtube video “one does not simply leave a crap-load of expensive equipment on a wet, non-sheltered rooftop. unless you are CNBlue.”

 

 

In conclusion, CNBlue are very ordinary and middle of the road. There’s nothing wrong with that! Just be honest.

To be fair, this was their first album. Maybe they were trying too hard. They’ve since released a new album called Ear Fun. I haven’t listened to it. Sorry CNBlue. You lost me at First Step.

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Korean Google Searches

Google tries to anticipate what you are searching for based on what other people have been typing into Google. I’m not sure if that’s specifically Korean people typing into Google since it’s Google.co.kr or its a global thing.

I saw this idea somewhere on the net but I can’t remember where it’s from. Anyway, it’s not my idea.

 

“What is that mean”

Judging by Google, I should still have a job as an English Teacher for a while.

 

 

“What are these areas of a fetal pig called”

……………

 

 

“What are those things that you see in your eyes”

……..Vision!?

“What are those strawberries”

…………strawberries?

“What are those funny pictures called”

………. please wait until the bionic Google ‘I see what you see’ update has become available. Only then can we give you a response.

 

I think for these cases it’s important to know that Google is a search engine, not a mind reader.

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Students – Gender-bending

Conversation class with 13 year old Korean, female students. Their English isn’t great but they can communicate.

Me: “What is your dream?”

Student: “My dream is to be a businessman!”

“Businessman? You want to be a man?”

[All the other girls giggle]

“Yes! First I want to be a man. Then I want to be a businessman.”

“But, to become a man is very expensive. The doctors will want a lot of money.”

“Teacher, transgender no! I just want look like man.”

“You just want to look like a man?”

“Yes! Man is very handsome~”

“Do you want a boyfriend?”

“No!”

“…You just want to look like a man?”

“Yes!”

“Okay…”

Now every time I see her in the hallway I say “Ah, hello businessman.” She giggles.

Also, I’ve no idea how all the kids know what transgender means…

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Shinee Lucifer – So good! Soooo bad – Part 1

Way back when I first came to Korea, a little Korean girl asked me “Teacher, do you know Shinee?” I replied “Whatsa ‘shiny’?” She replied “hul….” Basically the Korean passive version of wtf? So that night I looked up Shinee – Lucifer and that’s how I popped my Kpop cherry.

Shinee – Lucifer ……….. it’s just so f*cking good. SOOO Good. It is the essence of Kpop in a distilled time of 3 minutes and 58 seconds. It’s just so genius and perfect, that any remaking of it would surely be a mistake (apart from ecconomically of course). And so Shinee – Lucifer (Japanese Version) was born, and honestly, what a dissapointment. It’s obviously aimed at Japanese people, I’m not Japanese. I hate it. Why? Well first we’ve got to explain what makes the original Korean version so good! Then I can clearly illustrate why the Japanese version is a big bag of hairy anus (figuratively speaking of course).

Shinee – Lucifer (Korean Version)

Honestly, I’ve no idea what this song is about and I don’t care to look it up. Judging by their use of English I’d say, the lyrics are probably not that deep. The only bits I can recall are “Love-aholic, love-atronic. Love-aholic, love-atronic.”, “Marago, marago” which means what what, and something something about a ‘boner’. The song is alright but it’s definitely the video that makes this song legendary.

Bullshit Intro

BIP BIP BIP BIP BIP BIP BIP x4 with a few extra BIPS here and there and that’s it! A total of four seconds! Most Kpop intros are long and full of hidden meaning and deep emotion aka 30 seconds of who gives a toss before the song starts. Not Lucifer – BIP! BIP! BIP! BIP! BIP! BIP! BIP! Does what it says on the tin! While all this BIP-ping is going on, you get some fast cut visuals of Shinee stood in front of shiny cars in a shiny room and ‘sexy face’ close ups of each band member. What are they saying? “Could we be any more Shinee? AND we’re sexy!” This is one of my favourite Kpop intros. It’s basically like getting attacked about the ears and eyes by a proverbial Kpop c*ck.

Story

Well, Shinee seem to be trapped in a series of shiny rooms or dingy tunnels. All of these rooms/tunnels are haunted by a ghost who manifests himself as a bunch of wispy lines of colour. Shinee perform a sing and dance and with their power combined, the spirit is exorcised!

Focal point?

The Kpop Experience

“WTF are they wearing?!” Seems to be a universal statement upon first viewing of this video. Closely followed by “Is that a chic or a dude?” followed by “They’re ALL dudes?!? But, but, but, but?!” (As if the Bip Bip Bip Bip Bip Bip bit was foreshadowing this statement.)

It’s the clothes, the make up, the gender bending, the everything! I feel so conflicted loving this video so much. On the one hand its a bunch of not bad looking, skinny, muscly dudes dancing around – yum ^^. On the other, they’re dressed like gaylords, wearing make-up and doing some very feminine dance moves – I think I might be gay ;_;. So I feel intriegued and yet, doubting my sexuality liking this. It’s like playing musical gay chicken.

Honestly, words can’t do Lucifer justice. So here’s a series of images with captions and you can judge yourself.

Dancing in front of a car for no reason, wearing my clothes from the cosplay shop.

Saved by the Bell - Korea

Dude wearing make up and fur.

Its a girl!

Boobs are missing, maybe it's not a girl.

IT IS A GIRL!

What the hell are you and what are you doing? 😦

 

Highlights 

The whole thing is a bloody highlight.

 

Comparison with Lucifer in Japanese in part 2

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Why Korean karaoke (노래방) is the best.

Karaoke, or “noraebang” as it is called in Korea, is an extremely popular pastime in almost every city or town across the country, and is truly one of my favourites.

It differs to American or European style karaoke, where one would get up in front of a crowded bar with a group or friends, completely plastered and scream out the lyrics to one of a small selection of 90s hits. This, in my opinion, is not fun, and certainly not enjoyable to watch. Karaoke done Korean style, on the other hand, is a private room, perfectly sized to the number of members in your group (as small as 1, sometimes as big as 15).

Each noraebang differs from the other (in Seoul there are generally at least 2 on every street throughout the city): some are fancy, some are crusty; prices can be laughably low or stupidly high. Some even come with “helpers” – to help you sing and Have Good Time! (These ones can apparently be recognised by pictures of women on the outside.)

The best one that I ever went to was a large room that could fit about 10 people. Inside there we 3 ornate sofas and a large glass table. There was one huge flat screen on the main wall and about 4 other small screens on the side walls. At the back of the room was a staircase leading up to a mezzanine level – this came in very handy when me and my 2 girl friends sang Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cindy Lauper, as we entertained the other members of our group below us. The selection of songs was unbelievable, with a large section of international artists as well as Korean, Japanese and Chinese. There was a set of tambourines and even a drum kit. All around were funky multi-coloured lights and neon walls to give that “disco” feel. Inside we could drink, we could smoke, we could eat snacks – the perfect night out!

If singing isn’t your thing, it’s still worth going even for the experience. More than this, it is an experience in itself just seeing the hysterical videos that the noraebang companies put alongside the lyrics on the big screens. Some are pleasant scenes of exotic locations from around the world. Others are music videos from washed-out Asian artists of the 80s and 90s. But the best the are the cheaply made “dramas”. Here is a typical example:

A man is driving in the rain and swerves across the road to his death. His girlfriend rushes to the hospital and falls to the floor in despair. After several days of walking in the rain she collapses as a good-looking man on a motorbike rides past. Next scene: she wakes up on a couch with a blanket covering her, and the man making her warm tea. They fall in love and share happy moments of walking in the park and eating noodles together, having completely forgotten the previous boyfriend.

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Seoul Subway Guidelines

Things to expect when using the Seoul subway system: getting lost, confused, angry, and amazed; getting hit in the sides and head by backpacks and handbags; being stared at as if in the zoo; receiving bruises; and so much more. Thus, there are some guidelines that should be followed if you want to survive a trip from Jamsil to Hongdae.

  1. Now, it’s not that the Seoul system is particularly overcrowded. On the contrary, it is relatively spacious compared to the London Underground, or the Tokyo system, which even hires people to shove the crowds compactly into the train. So, most of the time you will be able to get onto the train. But it is the survival of the fittest when it comes to grabbing a seat, and the fittest in this context are generally the “ajumas” (old ladies). They will literally push you aside, step on your toes, grab your arm and pull you away, or even beat you off a seat that you have managed to find.

Daffy Duck disguised as an old Korean lady.

So, in this situation the best thing to do would be to assess the platform before the train even arrives. Make sure you stand next to a carriage door that does not have a disabled sign pointing towards it on the ground – this is where the ajumas and ajoshies (old men) go to take advantage of the seats reserved for the disabled, elderly, and those with children. Also make sure that, if the platform is busy, that there are no old people standing in your queue for the carriage door. If there are, you better head further down and find another point. As a warning, this becomes increasingly difficult on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

  1. Making transfers can be a hellish thing. Crowds of people walking in separate directions with no demarcation between left and right lanes (you are meant to keep to the right). You’ll get the few people in particular hurries walking straight into you, or the stray foreigners wondering bemused and getting in everyone’s way (many of us have been there too).

In this situation you have to plan ahead. Take a look at what is coming up in front of you – it is easy to pick out the ones in hurries and the bemused. It is also possible to pick out the slow-movers, the ones absent-mindedly talking on cell phones, and the children crab-walking away from their parents. All these are necessary things to take into account as you work out the perfect route between or away from these people. To improve this skill even further, take up some dancing lessons – it will teach you to be quick and light-footed.

  1. If you are of a foreign appearance (i.e. non-Asian), it is a fact – you will get stared at. Mostly by our old friends, the ajumahs and ajoshies. Sadly, there is little one can do about this. Staring back at them hardly deters them.

    So, either you can ignore them. Or you can entertain them! Speaking to a friend on the phone in English is a good one. If the “starer” can see your phone (i.e. is sitting/standing next to you) you could send a text, or watch some English videos on Youtube (for those fortunate enough to have smart phones). Then have a look at their fascination in you, as if watching a trained monkey! ^^

  2. Finally, do not assume that the other people on the subway cannot speak English. Yes, Korea is quite a homogenous society, and English is not their first language, but as most of the expats living in Korea will know (a large majority of them being English teachers), the importance on the English language here is vast. Most people under the age of 60 are learning or have learned the language at some stage in their life.

So, once again, do not assume that the people on the train cannot understand English. Certain topics – let’s say for example, oh, the sizes of Korean men’s’ members – should be kept for the privacy of your own homes and not the public arena.

Index finger to thumb is a good size guestimation.

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Kpop – Life don’t get better

Miracle SJ Miracle – Super Junior

OK, a fair bit of an oldie but f*ck me is it a goodie! This has to be one of THE MOST EPIC music video’s I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s got it all; Forced smiles, naff clothing, up-beat lyrics, the chorus repeat with an octave raise, not to mention all the cringy cringy gay gay. Who couldn’t love this music video?!

Bullshit Intro

Miracle opens up in the regular Kpop music video fashion with a long-winded intro that has no relevance towards anything! The band group-huddle in what looks like a dance rehearsal studio, probably discussing if they’re all there. Super Junior at the time had 13 band members. THIRTEEN! For our benefit the conversation is sped up double speed to a reduced length of 25 seconds of bullshit. That’s 1.9 seconds per band member.

Story

Super Junior are all hanging around, the majority of them glum. A couple of the members walk amongst the down trodden and with the power of song they change their despair into pure joy. The forced smiling is infectious and they collectively announce their new-found optimism by singing “Life can’t get better!”.

Location change and we see a legion of home-made-sign-holding-fans. Super Junior push their way through the crowd (that seem to be there just to poke the band with their signs), and onto their tour bus. While on the bus, Super Junior show their cute/prepubescent side by playing with stuffed animals, each other and themselves (using the stuffed animals as visual aids). Fortunately the private stuff happens at the back of the bus while the rest of the band are at the front busy camera whoring themselves.

Then there’s a brief interlude where the dancing portion of the video becomes the focus of the lone fat guy in Super Junior – Shindong. [Incidentally if you type in Google “Why is there a fat”, it finishes your sentence with “guy in super junior” and the first link will bring you here. ^^]

In his feature display he shows his cute/goofy personality by dancing into a cowboy pose, making his hands into gun shapes while imaginarily shooting as the music goes “pew pew”, while another band member crawls out from in between Shindongs legs and shoots his own imaginary gun…. *Ahem* As if that wasn’t enough, IMMEDIATELY AFTER, in an apparent re-take Shindong gets down on his knees, bounces himself up and down on the floor while pulling back his jacket for the rest of the group to grope his very promonant breasts. Text book cringe moment.

Location change again. Some of the band go to the roof for a good ol’ night time sing while the rest f*ck around while their stylists work. Group huddle – this time it’s only a five second roll call, and then off to the ball with yee. The rest of the video is Super Junior at a concert dancing in front of their adoring under age fans, too young to show their faces as they were clearly there without parental consent.

Highlights

Naff hand me down fashion.  – Through out but especially 0:33

Forced Smiles – Through out but especially 0:58

Overly happy to be on the phone  – 0:46

Wanking stuffed animal into another guys face – 1:44

Cringe – 2:25

über Cringe – 2:50

Awesome face – 3:25

Conclusions

Miracle by Super Junior is definitely an all time classic. What it lacks in musical appeal it more than makes up for in balls to the wall cringe factor, sprinkled with the delicious aura of “They’re all gay… They just haven’t realised it yet.”

A+

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