K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 5

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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 – pt. 4

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As I warned in my previous post, I may be talking about WayV’s comeback for awhile now.

So WayV came out with their own stage performance – akin to a choreography video. This is what I love about k-pop in general. Just when you are blown away with a music video, you get to relive it all over again with a choreography video.

And not just once, but twice as WayV did with a second version. I happen to like this one better as I prefer a variety of style and colours rather than the uniform look. Plus TEN’s hair falling over both sides looks ultra-cool! The man can perform no doubt about that.

For those pressed on time, you can watch both versions mashed into one…

It’s a Sunday as I enjoy day 3 of my extended long weekend. We had a late brunch and while it’s 1pm here, I’m still in my pj’s as I finish my coffee. While watching k-pop videos.

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K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 3

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I’m starting this update off with sad news. Yesterday, in my inbox, I received the dreaded email from Ticketmaster… 2020 (G)I-DLE WORLD TOUR ‘I-LAND : WHO AM I’ Has Been Canceled.

The cancelled concert would have had great music, too!

I wasn’t completely surprised. Out of all the k-pop concerts we had lined ourselves up to go see (as with others, tickets were bought well before the pandemic), this was the first to be postponed. And I knew it was the most likely to be cancelled.

For one, the venue was at a nightclub down by the waterfront with standing room only. It wasn’t a large venue (not small, but the area for the concert was reduced to be around the stage and middle-main bar. Last I checked, tickets were not sold out either.

With the first postponement announcement, ticket holders were given the option to get a refund within 30 days. Not having reserved seating, my theory is some decided to get their money back in hopes of purchasing tickets again when a new date has been announced. I personally didn’t want a refund and decided to just wait and see. I understand, however, some people needed cash-flow. Especially as jobs were being temporarily on either lay-off of furloughs. It’s been tough for the economy.

Finally, this was (G)I-DLE’s first world tour. And this isn’t the best way to start it. My hopes for them and their fans, is after this is over, and I pray it will be over enough for concerts to be brought back, they can plan their first world tour. Bigger and better! They deserve it.

BTS, as always, have been busy. Even without a comeback, they seem to have an endless amount of ways to show ARMY they are still very much present. This past weekend, YouTube streamed a virtual graduation, Dear Class of 2020, for all those across the world who are not able to graduate with their class (in the physical sense). We heard about BTS being on this – the same program as The Obama’s – a month or so ago. But I didn’t realize how much time slot they were given. It wasn’t small at all.

The commencement speech, above, allowed each member to speak. To be honest, I thought it would be mainly Namjoon for a few minutes. In the end, it was over 12 minutes long and each member had quite a lot of wisdom to share, drawing on their own experience both past and present. Once again, I felt BTS honed in on their bare honesty while being true to young people – especially those who may be struggling about finding their own path.

The performance was very well done. I couldn’t help but to noticed it was the closing performance as well, slotting not one, not two but three songs! I wasn’t surprised they did Boy With Luv and Mikrokosmos but Spring Day? A bittersweet song which I felt spoke to ARMY. Due to the pandemic and the postponement of their tour, I felt they really were sending out a message through Spring Day.

Oh man – another comeback just nailing it! I may be talking about WayV’s comeback and first ever full album, Awaken the World for awhile.

You know how you watch the comeback trailers and music video teasers… many do a great job in hyping up the comeback but it doesn’t mean in the end, the actual song will do it for you.

Then there are certain teasers when you just know you will love the song! This is one of them.

Each member had their own teaser as well as their title track MV, Turn Back Time – you can find them on WayV’s YouTube channel.

I’ve yet to fully listen to their whole album but what I’ve heard so far, I’ve liked. This is another group I surely hope will go on a world tour. They are quite young so there’s hope they will have enough popularity after the pandemic is over. Fingers crossed!

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K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 2

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I’m going into week 13 with my work-from-home quarantine life. Here in Canada, our movement to re-open has been much slower and more cautious. We’re doing it in phases. We’re doing it in mini-phases, actually. And returning to the office hasn’t been determined as far as any firm dates. Our city has asked businesses to keep those who can work from home at home until the end of the summer. As I said – it’s a slow process. So in the meantime, nothing has changed much in my personal life. Other than going out for groceries or walking the dog, I’m pretty much home and finding ways to live a simple life. The hiking trails have now opened so we do go hiking on weekends when weather permits. Otherwise I continue to live each day with gratitude, reminding myself that whatever I’m going through, there are so many people having a much tougher time.

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I posted my first quarantine-k-pop update here. Below are some highlights from the last two weeks:

The return of Agust D! And with a stunning music video to boot! Daewitcha blew my mind away. The song production itself grabbed my attention, however, I really have to give it all to the music video. Min Yoongi did an amazing job playing the duo-role of evil emperor and assassin. I was very impressed with his sword-dance moves.

Side note – Jin and Jungkook as background actors was hilarious! I loved how they participated in the video! I admit, I didn’t even notice when they appeared even though I noticed the scene. Thanks to ARMY for pointing them out!

TXT introduces their second music video, PUMA from the same comeback album, The Dream Catcher: ETERNITY, which showcased their title track, Can’t You See Me? I love this song. I think so far, it’s my favorite track on the album so when I discovered they released a video for it, I welcomed it with open arms. I must say, BigHit didn’t waste their time moving from the young and innocent look to the dark and badass look, did they? Kids… this is a very different TXT from their debut. Just a heads up!

I think BLINKS, including myself, have been feeling the starve-effect of Blackpink’s comeback delay. Which had been delayed after being delayed, and then delayed again.

I mean come on! Blackpink is a hot group. And even when they do have a comeback, we are teased with at most, four new songs. Their comeback is now scheduled for September, though we are promised a full album with releases occurring the start of July through to September’s comeback.

Anyway, when I learned they would be featured in Lady Gaga’s new album, I was pretty psyched. I saw this as a great opportunity for all artists involved.

Sour Candy came out and at the beginning, I loved it! I still do, but after listening to it for a week, I’m a little disappointed. I felt it was a bit underwhelming. The song starts off well, moving towards Lady Gaga’s part. And to give her credit, you hear all four members of Blackpink for the first half of the song. But that’s it… the song is just two and a half minutes long. It doesn’t build. It doesn’t get to what I felt was going to come – a great bridge with a peak in energy. In the end, it just continued as such until it just… ends.

Overall I still like the song but it’s a bit of a tease as well, leaving the listener wanting more.

That’s it for now. Continue staying safe everyone!

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Fighting Racism

It’s been a tougher two weeks lately.

Just a gentle reminder to continue supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign. My personal frustration is in 2020 this should be beyond awareness. Yet the police violence and brutality against African American people, along with the general racism, continues to occur without proper justice.

Another gentle reminder – be kind to one another. Social media and the cancel culture has been peaking at it’s absolute worse. I’m disgusted with what I have been reading these past week or two. From BOTH sides of the camp.

I’ve seen racist remarks from non-African Americans defending other racists. And I’ve seen pro-BLM (or those posing to be for the movement) raise equally discriminating remarks on white people and/or cops. I’ve seen those who are pro-BLM lash out at those who merely are just seeking information. I understand tension is at an all-time high but should this type of unhealthy usage of social media persist, we will always remain at the ‘awareness’ level at best.

The power struggle is unsettling. One side has used superiority to threaten a group of people based on the colour of their skin for far too long. Yet fear is starting to spread through all sides. We are, in the end, animals with primal instincts. Fear is fear. It is not an excuse to lash out but the reality is that we will see more and more people lash out if we continue to yell at each other rather than have healthy discussions.

So I beg everyone… be patient and be kind. Continue to use social media to educate. Share knowledge to help others learn how they can help.

A final reminder – be gentle to yourself. There’s been a lot to take in. Personally, I’ve found these weeks more troubling than the entire weeks of the pandemic lock down combined. I’ve been reading through the petitions and signing what I can. But I am also taking breaks and balancing my life in order to protect my own mental well-being. Remember, you can do both – be an activist and still post selfies and photos of your dog. Doing the latter doesn’t mean you do not care – it just means you are human so long as you do whatever you can to not turn a blind-eye on the realities of the world we live in.

I want to end my blog post with this beautiful and amazing YouTube project – This is a way you can help if you are financially challenged. Even if you have been able to donate financially to any of the BLM campaigns, this video also celebrates black artists and the community which has found a way to come together to fight racism against African Americans. It educates and it brings people together.

Please watch all videos – remove ad blocker. Do not skip or remove ads. The money through the ads will be donated to various BLM campaigns. Play it in the background multiple times – and share this video. Thank you.