K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 17

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It’s the first official summer long weekend here in Canada (a.k.a. Victoria Day weekend or May-Two-Four). Lock down continues and has been extended to 2nd week of June. Now, the plan shifts to different re-opening decisions. Rather than focus on new COVID numbers per day, the government will not loosen restrictions until at least 60% of the population has received their 1st dose vaccination, as well as determine how our hospital ICU and emergency rooms are doing.

I’m sure a lot of people are pissed off. Actually, I know they are. Up here, there’s not as much fear in getting vaccinated as there are in the states. However, the availability of vaccines has been very unstable. One week, we open up to new groups, then the other week, we’re told vaccinations are running low or running out completely. Plus it puts pressure on those who don’t agree with vaccinations. Whether or not I agree with anti-vaxxers or not, bottom line, it is their body and they have a right to decide what is done to their body.

What I don’t agree with – in terms of anti-vaxxer arguments – about how some establishments such as vacation resorts and cruise lines, may require customers to show proof of full vaccinations. They feel this means they are being forced to get vaccinated. Which, I feel is a stretch of what ‘force’ means. We’re quite privileged to be getting the vaccinations for free here. Where as places like India, suffering massively at the tragedy of COVID, would give anything to have enough vaccinations.

I think people need to realize what truly is ‘force’ and to recognize the privilege we have compared to other parts of the world. In other words, lets be thankful and much less bull-headed.

By the way, I got my 1st dose of AstraZeneca. I felt like shit for the next two days but was comforted in knowing it only meant my immune system was doing it’s job and the vaccination was working through my body. Fingers crosses it works! For all our sakes.

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On to k-pop news….

The biggest, of course, is BTS’s release, Butter.

So… unpopular opinion here. A confession, really. After BTS released the teaser for Butter, I was not impressed. I was still hopeful but what I heard just didn’t grab my attention.. It was a first for me. Still, I waited for the full song to drop.

And then it did drop. And… I was a bit more impressed. But not crazy about it. True, I really did enjoy the video and recognize it to be quite the bop. Which is what BTS planned to do – to create a fun, summer-vibe bop.

I’ll admit, after listening to it a few times, it’s growing on me. Except I don’t like the way it starts. I don’t know why… yet. But something about it reminds me of a commercial jingle. And I can’t place my finger which commercial.

And, I really do miss something more dramatic, deep and/or edgy. I feel we’ve been without that edge since ON or Black Swan.

Some highlights of the song and music video…

  1. Suga’s rapping
  2. J-Hope. That’s it. Just J-Hope. Like his rapping and his singing. And his freestyle in that elevator scene. Except when he eats a chunk of butter at the end. I just want to know if he spits it out on the ‘CUT!’ Or maybe it’s not really butter but something that is made to look like butter.
  3. Jungkook’s long hair. Jungkook’s purple hair.
  4. How they spelt out ARMY with their poses – especially Taehyung and his biggest smile!
  5. Jimin’s vocals and when he’s at the press conference about to introduce the group.
  6. Jin’s vocals – because he sounds great and he gets a decent amount of lines.
  7. Namjoon rocking out during his freestyle

Of course, this is just my opinion. Lets face it – it’s taking off so strongly, already breaking records. I won’t be surprised to see it on Billboards Top Hot 100, if not at no. 1.

The second news I have is a very sad one if you ask me. It’s that GFRIEND have decided to disband. This shocking news seems to have confused and saddened fans. I don’t believe they saw it coming.

I myself am very sad. I knew of them, but only got into GFRIEND when they released Apple. And then I was so impressed, still am impressed as I play it pretty much everyday, with their latest release MAGO.

I wish the members all the best and thank them for providing such great music!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 16

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Wow,.

It’s been a month. Or two.

While we’re still in a strict 24-hour lock-down, strangely a lot has happened.

I’ve been really battling the anti-Asian Hate which is reaching it’s peak here in North America. However, caring and being an activist comes with much emotional and mental energy being consumed. Posting just one retro-art symbolizing the Black Panther and Yellow Peril union from the 1960’s resulted in me being harassed and cyber-bullied. I believe ‘racist bitch’ was the exact words thrown at me.

I won’t go into details. My main goal was to bring together all groups – BIPOC and POC – and talk about ally-ship. Ally-ship and alliance for peace and the fight against racism, microaggressions and systemic racism. So it was very interesting to be called racist when the very movement I was part of was against racism.

I’m not going to go deeper into what happened because it only solidifies my belief about ally-ships during such a time where people are so divided. What I’ve learned is, once you become vulnerable and put yourself out there, you will have people (horrible people) knocking you down. That’s fine, I’m not there to do them any favors. I’m here to do favors for myself and those who want to help or be helped.

And no one said this was going to be an easy battle.

Giving up would be the last thing on my mind.

And now onto k-pop. Because this is my space and that’s what I need – to be in my happy place.

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The biggest comeback I want to talk about is ENHYPEN. It wasn’t a group I thought I would be heavily invested in right from the beginning. Like TXT, I figured, “Well – young rookies. Very young. They’ll probably go for the flower-boy concept. The clean concept.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with the clean concept. It’s just not my style.

With ENHYPEN, I was wrong. I judged before I heard. Though I still stand by their name, by the way. Like everyone else I want to say ‘en-hyphen.’

Their initial release of Given-Taken and Let Me In have been added to my playlist as is. I was impressed with both songs. Not mind-blowing for me, but I liked both enough, especially Given-Taken. Their latest release, however, is just on a completely different level!

For one, I’m completely digging the vampire theme they’ve got going on. And even more so, the song itself it just full of energy and edge! There’s a bit of rock influence which I’m always a big fan of in k-pop. Because when it’s used, which isn’t often, and it’s used right, it creates this explosive, adrenaline state of the mind.

So what next? Well, I’d like to find that really awesome B-side track from ENHYPEN which I haven’t yet. Not like with TXT.

Another artist I’ve become pretty consumed in lately is Jessi.

Ah Jessi. She’s a rebel but not a trouble-maker. She defies k-pop beauty standards and yet is a queen of beauty anyway. Jessi is honest – she’ll put people in their place. But she’s also good and fights the good fight. I mean, like or hate her music, who can ignore Jessi?

She pretty much says it all in her last comeback, X (What Type of X):

Damn I love this song so much. In an interview she was explaining how this song was dedicated to her fans. Jessi wants her fans to just be them. Just like her. And I just love that message. Jessi makes no apology for who she is. She owns herself both inside and out. I mean, the woman has my full respect!

I am also in love with her late 2020 release, NUNA NANA. Which leads me to her live performance with Jackson Wang:

Now that GOT7 is no more, I would LOVE to see more collaboration between Jackson and Jessi. They have this type of energy on stage which really suit each other. I don’t know – I just see them as a good team.

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 15

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about how I am now subscribed to Les Mills on Demand. At the time, I only joined because I really missed Bodyflow. My gym has the Les Mills program classes but even prior to the pandemic, I hadn’t been able to go to a Bodyflow class. The one that they had during Friday lunch was changed with another class I wasn’t interested in. And it was the only class that fit my work schedule all week.

I started exploring other types of programs since I have access to all Les Mills workouts now. I zeroed in on Bodycombat – a smart move! What a fun but intense workout! It focuses on core, it focuses on agility, balance, power and above all, cardio.

And to make it even more fun, the 3rd track for Bodycombat #77 surprised me with a cover of MIC Drop Remix! How cool is that? It’s fate. I know it.

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I have a lot of k-pop updates I want to dive into. So much, I don’t know where to start. I’ll most definitely need to split it all up in at least two posts.

For now, I want to talk about what’s been giving me the most joy.

J-Hope gave us the best gift!

I, along with ARMY all across the world, woke up on March 1st to a surprise. It was something I had to really digest because I couldn’t believe my eyes – or my ears – to find an extended version of Blue Side waiting for us on BANGTANTV!

What was a short track (the Outro) on his mix tape, Hope World, now exist as a 3 min 19 sec long song (from 1.5 minutes).

I’m simply in heaven! Not only do I have a full version of this track, but we’re hearing new material we didn’t hear from the previous recording.J-Hope’s vocals are heaven. The ambiance follows the same chill feel and deep house influence which was one of the biggest reasons I was so attracted to the shorter piece before. It’s so rich with layers, I simply can’t stop listening to it.

And I’m dying to learn which one came first and what was the decision on releasing this longer track. Did it always exist? Was he waiting for a specific moment to release it?

Well, whatever the reason, I thank Mr. Jung Ho-seok for this amazing gift!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 14

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Hello World! I don’t really have much to report as far as pandemic life – at least my pandemic life. All I can say is I’m still very blessed my family and I are healthy and have what we need to continue on-wards. And like everyone else, we hope it ends. After all, this too shall pass.

In the meantime, my husband and I have talks about our dream vacation – where would we go, what would we want to do? I don’t foresee us traveling until it’s safer and/or we’ve all been vaccinated (and the vaccination proves to have a positive impact). It’s nice, however, to talk about it and ‘dream-plan’. Studies have shown this gives people a mental break and something positive to look forward to.

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As far as k-pop updates, I really only want to talk about one thing. One performance. Well, one unplugged performance on MTV.

I’m sure even those who are not fans of BTS know what I”m talking about (given the recent trend in social media, ‘the guy with the pink mic’).

I love these types of performances – we get to see the raw talents of BTS. It’s more mellow. And while they played their hits, Dynamite and Life Goes On, they also spoiled us with B-side tracks, Telepathy and Blue & Grey. All stellar performances!

Yet the big surprise from this past Tuesday evening, was a Coldplay cover, Fix You:

Everyone is talking about it. That’s how good our guys performed this song. I even saw it on e-talk here in Canada the next evening. They even said they felt it was a better performance compared to the original artists.

Yikes! I wouldn’t go that far! Don’t get me wrong, it was fantastic! But BTS did it in their own style, different from Coldplay’s version. Neither are better than the other – simply because each performance is based on the artists’ visions of how to deliver the song. So if there’s any chance a Coldplay fan is out there (I’m actually one of them), please don’t listen to such nonsense.

Anyway – I have watched the above video countless of times in the past two days. I’m sure I’m not going to tire of it anytime soon.