K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 5

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Hello! So – Going into the 16th week of social distancing and working from home (and generally what is the new norm due to the pandemic). Sixteen weeks, folks!

Granted, we’re slowly moving to phase 2 which means restaurants are allowed to have ‘in-dining’ though technically it’s not really in-dining because they are only allowed to seat people in their patios. Hair and nail salons are also now open. And camping – we finally get to go camping! It’s still slow but they now allow two bubbles (2 households) to interact physically but only with each other. This means after over three months not being able to see my parents outside of porch dinner drop-offs, I’ve finally had a sit-down dinner with them. It was so great!

Hugs between these bubbles are also allowed. And yes, I realize how weird that sounds. Being told we now have permission to hug our parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. But these are strange times indeed.

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I wanted to dedicate this update centering around women-power!

(G)I-DLE released their latest song, Oh My God, almost 3 months ago and I’m sorry it’s taking me this long to do a deep dive into it, even though I had already posted the video. I’m really, really sorry because I hadn’t paid attention to the lyrics until just recently. Mind you, I loved the song from the get-go. (G)I-DLE continues to impress me. They continue to show how they are striving to be different both from their past work and from other k-pop male and female groups.

I have to give credit to Danny Kim from DKDKTV, a Korean living in South Korea who broke down the lyrics as well as giving insight to the Korean culture.

At first, the lyrics, while interesting, didn’t seem to out there. A general story of infatuation which is described as an addiction. The protagonist expresses an internal torment from falling deeper and a fear of losing herself as she gives herself over to temptation.

I’m falling endlessly
And you’re playing with me
You got me losing my mind, you intruder
It’s so dangerous I want it
Even if it costs all the pain
And now I have you at last, I

But then the chorus comes and I’m blown away…

Oh my god
She took me to the sky
Oh my god
She showed me all the stars

To explain my thought process here, I’m not shocked this is about a same-sex love affair. It’s 2020 and as we celebrate Pride Month, this is not some big revelation in the grand scheme of themes. However, lets go back to how I mentioned (G)I-DLE being different from other k-pop groups while keeping in mind, in South Korea, the culture as a whole is not as friendly towards the LGBTQ+ community yet. It’s getting better – I believe mainly due to the younger generation.

As far as k-pop, it’s always been an interesting dance as idols do a balancing act between old-culture beliefs and their younger more liberal fans. They play on the fence where they show ambiguity as far as what their true sexual orientations are. I urge anyone who has not watched Danny Kim’s explanation to give it a try. And of course, decide for yourself if the explanation makes sense.

Next up… Blackpink in your areaaaaa!

Finally we get the comeback track to the start of Blackpink’s 2-month comeback. Recall I mentioned we will be getting a FULL album (I heard 10 new songs) this September, with releases and teasers in the months to come.

Two days ago, Blackpink dropped their track, How You Like That:

As normal Blackpink style goes, they released what I call one of their dancy-energy songs. Their style and music video alone is impressive as the four ladies show all their sass and attitude. Overall, I love this song! It’s going to be a perfect summer beat on my playlist.

The downside is that it’s nothing really new. I would say they followed their formula for catchy beats. I will also say I don’t expect anything deep with Blackpink. For those who hope this, it may be awhile before they are released from the YG grip of control. Having said that, I will say my favorite part is Lisa’s rap verse with an East Indian beat.

In summary, Blackpink is fun! That”s the type of music I expect from them even though I know they would be talented to go deeper if allowed. They are the type of group where if I had to listen to their music for a couple of hours, I’d prefer it during a live concert rather than listening to their albums one after another. I tend to ‘sprinkle’ a Blackpink song or two mixed in with other k-pop groups in my playlists.

Finally, I’ve been getting into Dreamcatcher lately. They debuted in 2017, the same year I got into k-pop. I heard their name quite a lot back then, as they were one of the rookie female groups up for MAMA 2017 voting. I hadn’t, however, given them the time they deserved.

I don’t know a lot about Dreamcatcher but with our Family Apple Music subscription, which I’m very thankful to have during quarantine, I’ve been listening to their latest album, which happens to be their first full album, Dystopia: The Tree of Language.So far, I’m impressed. I would say they capture more of a rock sound (with some pop as well). Perhaps that’s why I like them. They differ from a lot of the popular female acts.

Next up – ATEEZ. I promised my daughter I would give them more of a try outside the 2 to 3 songs I know from them.

Stay well, everyone!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Honestly, as we’re going into our tenth week in lock down (and for myself, working from home). you would think I would have more time to dive deeper into k-pop.

Nope. Two and half months have passed and I don’t feel that I actually have more time on my hands. I have most definitely saved 1.5+hrs commute every day to and from work on my workdays. That time is now used for doing more yoga, Pilates, walking the dog and doing some organizing and de-cluttering. I suppose not going out much has also allowed us to prep our own meals more often than before. When you think about it, all those things do take up a lot of free time outside of work. I’m grateful to be this busy – it’s been cleansing for my soul as we have moved towards living a more simple and minimalist lifestyle.

I do, however, still try to keep up with k-pop whether it’s a new release or an older song I’ve stumbled upon. Here are three recent highlights:

UI eight (Produced and Featuring SUGA)

eight really hit the right mood for me. And maybe for many of us as we face this world on pause. It’s a clean, flowing and beautiful melody, accompanied perfectly by IU’s voice. A bonus of Suga delivering the rap bridge, as well.

TXT Can’t You See Me?

I’ve really been looking forward to this comeback since BigHit started dropping the teasers. This is the more mature TXT I have been waiting for as it falls in line with my type of taste. They still keep an air of lightness to their beat and sound, though, which I respect as it’s who they are. This is probably on the edge of angst for TXT.

Oh My Girl! CLOSER

This song came out in 2015 but I really do love it. The sound is almost fantasy-like. It goes well for a mellow spring day. There’s a sense of hope which I feel when I listen to this song. Perhaps this is just the right type of song for my rainy spring day here.

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge (and not in 2019) – Part XI

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #23: A picture of a k-pop idol who you think is underrated

SUNMI from LALALAY concept photo

It’s so hard to be a female kpop artist as it is. When one goes solo, it’s even harder. At least with a group, you have support. You’re less lonely. If the team work is on the right path, you grow and evolve on each other’s strengths.

SUNMI has worked hard. I mean, hard! She writes a lot of her music and has to do a lot of her own promotions. Especially after parting ways with JYP Entertainment and signing on with a lesser known company, MAKEUS Entertainment. I’ve seen her live and honestly, she is such a talented performer. Her fans really love her, too. And it’s easy to see why – she has a certain sass and humor, on top of her great music. What’s not to love?

I do, however, feel she is underrated. Her works show a lot of variety with a certain kind of edge to each release. I’d like to see her more in the spotlight but felt her lack of presence in 2019’s award shows, where as in 2018, she won best female artist at MAMA.

I certainly hope this has nothing to do with her healthy weight gain. SUNMI chose to gain weight under doctor’s orders. There’s nothing wrong with that but she got slammed for it (after people complained she was too skinny). Body shaming is shameful – end of story.

Here’s hoping the queen will surge forward again!

Question #24: A picture of a k-pop idol who you think is overrated

KAI from SuperM’s Jopping

My choice is EXO/SuperM’s Kai but it’s really not his fault. I have always been a fan of Kai’s dancing as the man has crazy skills! However, when I did a final analysis of SuperM’s Jopping, I found myself frustrated. There’s NCT’s TEN, clearly an incredible dancer himself. Yet he had less than 5% of the distribution in both vocals and center of their choreography & music video. Why? Based on seniority? If so, I get that. I really do. However, Kai was center constantly and I think TEN deserved to be center more than his actual share… even if it was 65% Kai and 35% TEN if you want to include seniority. The company did TEN dirty.

[Here’s my original answers from the first time I did this challenge]

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part VII

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #15: A k-pop song that reminds you of of a time or moment you miss

The original question was which k-pop song reminds you of some one you miss. Other than my first answer, there hasn’t been any song which reminds me of anyone from my past.

However, music will, whether k-pop or non-kpop, remind me of a time or place from my past.

Super Junior’s One More Time came during a phase where a lot of k-pop artists were taking on Latin American vibes. This one in particular brings me back to all those trips I’ve taken down south, finding myself on white sandy beaches.

Question #16: Favorite k-pop lyric (and a translation)

BTS actually has a lot of deep and meaningful lyrics. I’m still shook with the double-meaning behind Pied Piper. It’s evident they are having a conversation with ARMY. On the one hand, there’s a seductive lure. Yet on the other hand, they warn ARMY not to fall so much into the obsession where it controls one’s life in a negative way. This duo-message is both playful and yet carries a deep warning. I imagine they are saying they can’t help how they might cause a magnetic connection which draws us into them… yet they ask us to be cautious with how far we may fall down that rabbit hole.

Along with the way BTS performs this song, it is quite captivating.

Pied Piper Lyrics (Translated/English)

[Verse 1: Jungkook]
It’s bad so it’s better
You know on the inside
You can’t stop it now (you can’t stop)
So be honest with me

[Verse 2: Rap Monster]
Stop
Now stop watching and study for your test
Your parents and boss hate me
Video clips, pictures, tweets
V app, Bon Voyage
I know, you can’t help what you like
But stop, interpret the music video later
You have so many pictures of me in your room anyway
It’s not just one hour, it’s a whole year that’ll disappear
So this song is an award I’m giving to you
Good

[Pre-Chorus: Jin, V]
You’re not being punished
Come here, I’m your paradise
Can’t close your eyes
Can’t close your eyes
You can throw a fit but it’s no use
(Don’t reject me)
Just close your eyes, tune your ears

[Chorus: Jimin, Jungkook]
Follow the sound of the pipe, follow this song
It’s a bit dangerous but I’m so sweet
I’m here to save you, I’m here to ruin you
You called me, see? I’m so sweet
Follow the sound of the pipe
I’m takin’ over you
I’m takin’ over you

[Verse 3: V, Suga]
You know that it’s already begun
The moment you hear that sound
Maybe I’m a bit dangerous
Like the pied piper
I’m testing you
Like the fruit from the tree of good and evil

[Verse 4: J-Hope]
My pipe awakens everything
That sound burns you up even more
You’re pulled by it, you react
I’m endlessly blowing
I’m your guilty pleasure
You can’t escape
Never

[Pre-Chorus: Jungkook, Jimin]
You’re not being punished
Come here, I’m your paradise
Can’t close your eyes
Can’t close your eyes
You can throw a fit but it’s no use
(Don’t reject me)
Just close your eyes, tune your ears

[Chorus: Jin, V]
Follow the sound of the pipe, follow this song
It’s a bit dangerous but I’m so sweet
I’m here to save you, I’m here to ruin you
You called me, see? I’m so sweet
Follow the sound of the pipe

[Bridge: Jungkook]
Yeah, I’m a bit dangerous
I can’t even handle myself
Don’t worry, my hands
They’re only warm for you

[Outro: Jimin, Jungkook]
If I’m ruining you right now
Please forgive me
Because you can’t live without me
Because you know all of this
I’m takin’ over you
I’m takin’ over you

[Here’s my original answers from the first time I did this challenge.]

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part III

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #6: A favorite k-pop song from your favorite girl group

My response two years ago would have been Blackpink’s Playing with Fire.

Now it is a toss up between (G)I-dle’s Uh-Oh and LION. I’m going to go with Uh-Oh, though:

I love this live performance, BTW. They look like they are having fun!

Question #7: K-pop song that makes you cry

I hadn’t had a k-pop song that made me cry until the release of BTS’ I’m Fine.

It’s possibly due to the fact this song came out at the perfect time. We watched Burn the Stage (docu-series and the movie) and heard their struggles. We saw BTS members breaking down and crying on stage in front of thousands.

The lyrics and choreography is very emotional – ARMY will understand. There are three distinct parts of the dance where each of the maknae line (Jungkook, Jimin and V) fall to their knees and the rest of the members picks them up. Or the part where J-Hope (the resident sunshine and positive energy of the group) motions each member up right. And of course, it’s the conclusion to Save Me from three years ago to signify their personal growth as individuals and as a group.

I still get chills whenever I watch a live performance of this song.

[Here’s my original answers from the first time I did this challenge.]