Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part II

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #4: Who’s your ultimate k-pop girl bias?

Woohoo! Another one where my answer has changed drastically and multiple times.

First time answering this was LE from EXID because I wasn’t very familiar with many k-pop girl groups, or many other k-pop groups period.

Soyeon, leader of (G)I-dle

Since then, I’ve changed to Lisa from Blackpink, to Jennie from Blackpink, to Sunmi and finally, at the moment at least, Soyeon from (G)I-dle. Though I still love Sunmi. How can one not love Sunmi?

But Soyeon is a hard one to deny. I’ve gushed over her before and I’ll gush over her again – this young lady has skills! She writes a lot of their music, carries the responsibility as leader of their group, is a killer dancer, and I encourage people to watch her facial expressions in both their music videos and live performances. Soyeon knows how to look at the camera and give her iconic snarl expression right at the right moment!

Question #5: A favorite k-pop song from your favorite guy group

As before, this one is extremely hard to answers! I broke it down to the following categories last time:

All-Time Fave: FIRE
2017 Song of the Year: MIC Drop Remix
Current Fave: Sea

To stay with the same categories, here’s my updated list:

  • All-Time Fave: Dionysus
  • 2018 Song of the Year: Truth Untold
  • Current Fave: So What

Once again, this was not an easy question to answer. All-time favorites will change time and time again. How does one even pick an all-time favorite when new things come out all time with k-pop and one’s tastes or mood changes frequently?

I think any of BTS’ classics will remain my all-time favorites, such as FIRE, Blood Sweat and Tears and MIC Drop Remix. Dionysus, however, has earned it’s way to the top for sure!

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

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge – Part IX

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge]

Day 19: Favorite interview of a k-pop idol or group

Zach Sang. He was the only one that actually asked real questions after that week BTS was in LA. I, along with many BTS fans, were starting to feel a bit put-off after witnessing the same type of interviews over and over again… to the point they weren’t even worth watching (at least I gave up not even mid-way through the week).

Thank you, Zach Sang! You were the unspoken ambassador for BTS during the American Music Award period!

Day 20: Favorite picture of your guy k-pop bias

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BTS Park Jimin

Jimin, I find, photos best when it’s candid and when he’s doing what he does best! That is why I love the above photo – capturing him in his elements! As a bonus, below is an animated .gif:

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Day 21: Favorite picture of your girl k-pop bias

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EXID Ahn Hyo-jin (LE)

LE is just so cool! 🙂

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge – Part II

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge]

Day 4: Who’s your ultimate k-pop girl bias

I don’t really have a strong bias so I’m going to just state which one caught my attention first and that would be LE from EXID. When I first heard Ah Yeah and Up & Down, I was totally floored with EXID’s edge. I give LE a lot of credit for her slick rapping skills. I felt she balanced some of the softer vocals so hell yeah! I am a big LE supporter!

Day 5: A favorite k-pop song from your favorite guy group

Seriously? Are you going to ask this from me? There’s no way I can pick just one from BTS! To choose just one is unfair! Their music has been so experimental over the years providing us a variety of different songs influenced by different genre, even though the core of their music is hip hop. I can, however, break it down to 3 categories:

  • All-Time Fave: FIRE
  • 2017 Song of the Year: MIC Drop Remix
  • Current Fave: Sea

I chose FIRE as my all time favorite simply because it was one of the first songs which got me BTS-hooked! The classic BTS energy, great beat, crazy choreography and lets face it, fun music video basically sealed the deal for me. I have not gotten sick of it! There are times, of course, I’m only in the mood for softer mood music but at some point everyday, I play FIRE. It’s a great song to workout to, as well.

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge – Part I

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge]

Okay – I got this from kwenzqoat and like him, I won’t be doing these once a day. As you can see, it’s now January 3rd – I’m two dates late already. So I’ll post in batches! And just a warning… I’m not sure how good my answers are going to be. The fact is, I was only introduced to kpop since end of last winter. And I didn’t become a true fan until mid-summer when I found myself listening to kpop daily – if not sometimes, exclusively! So, the challenge is I do not know THAT many kpop groups compared to many kpop lovers I have met online. This list will mainly be about BTS!

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BTS decked out in Yves Saint Laurent at the 2017 AMAs

Day 1: Your favorite k-pop boy group

And as I already made clear… BTS! I love all 7 members – it is the only group where I can safely say it would be extremely difficult to see any one of them leave without feeling just… empty. Each member is such an expert in their own field of skills. Individually their talents already wow me but together they are truly phenomenal. They compliment each other and I’m just always at awe at how good they are on so many levels. They are equals – please never ask me who I think is the best because that would be cruel. I can’t answer that. DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!!!

Day 2: Your favorite k-pop girl group

Here is where my knowledge of kpop falters. I have yet to find a girl group whom I love anywhere as close as I love BTS. And it’s not because there’s not enough talent out there in kpop world. It’s just that the talent isn’t being used to the fullest potential. Yeah – I said it. The double-standard sexism in the kpop world is so obvious it irks the shit out of me. I have so much more to write about this issue I have with kpop girl groups. I will reserve it for another more serious post, though. For the time being, I am going to say Black Pink. They were not the first girl group that caught my attention, though. EXID was the first and I did love their sound!

Day 3: who’s your ultimate k-pop guy bias

Park Jimin*. Oh that damn Jimin! I have tried not to see him as a bias. I really have. And it’s so frustrating because when he’s being off-stage Jimin he is adorable and I don’t think of him in any other way but, “Aww – he’s so sweet!” Then he goes on-stage and the duality of how he switches his personality from sweet to sexy just KILLS. ME. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. He needs to stop it. Now. I’m too old for him. I’m married. I have a child, for heaven’s sake! If I had gotten an early pregnancy, I would be old enough to be his mother! Argh!!! I am a sucker for a good dancer, though. He shows both strength and grace when he dances and that’s what I love. I also love his vocal voice. Truth be told, the real BTS, i.e. their off-stage personalities, are very comforting and humble. And I can easily say when they are off-stage, I don’t see them as anything through the mind set of a platonic admirer of their hard work and well, I just want to adopt them or something. Maybe just cover them with a protective blanket. The duality they, along with many kpop idols, show on stage is like a mind-bender. I feel like my eyes are playing tricks on me. But that is the whole point, right? This is how they market towards their fan-base. This is what makes them not just singers, dancers, producers, song writers, etc., but PERFORMERS!

*On a side note about the whole Jimin-bias thing… The funny thing is I know back in the No More Dreams and Bulletproof era he was known to lift his shirt up and expose his abs. I have to say, due to his age at that time where I question if he (or any of the maknae line) was even of legal age, I can’t watch those music videos or performances anymore. They all looked like babies then! It’s too creepy for me and I think that’s the one thing kpop needs to be more responsible about – under aged idols should be treated as such. Under aged. Period. Plus, while I am not shy from admitting my admiration of a man with nice abs and chest, I find it WAY more sexier when they are not showing so much skin. When all 7 BTS members walked the red carpet in their formal, Yves Saint Laurent suits, during the 2017 American Music Awards, I was like, “Yeah! That’s right – show the world how beautiful you guys are!” A well dressed man will take my breath away more than one showing so much skin. (Why I felt male strippers are quite boring to watch – I’ve been to see male strippers once for a stagette and found myself yawning mid-way through the evening).

Wow – that was an interesting tangent!

How K-Pop has Ruined Me for Main Stream Music

I suppose ‘main stream’ is subjective depending where one is from. Being here in Canada/North America, however, k-pop is definitely not main stream. I also see main stream just like movies – what’s capturing The Grammy’s and The Academy attention. Of course, it’s nothing to go by what should be considered good entertainment but it tends to be what makes it to the ‘media buzz’ or what is considered radio play-worthy.

And from what I’ve heard from the radio at least in most major cities, well, personally the selection of over-played tunes leaves something to be desired.

Anyway, here are some of the ways k-pop has ruined me from main stream music:

Rapping

 

 

 

 

 

To be fair, I was never HUGE into rap songs. Except Eminem. The man might have had a rough life style to start but boy was he passionate when he rapped. Other than him, I was okay with minimal rapping in a song but I wasn’t big on most rap songs.

Cue k-pop rapping. And now, I’m a fan. But ONLY when it’s from one of my fave k-pop artist. So much so where I found myself slightly disappointed with the BTS MIC Drop Steve Aoki Remix ft. Desiigner.

It was Desiigner that had me not loving the remix as much as the music video remix with just Steve Aoki. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still something I would listen to but I’m looking forward to the day I can purchase the version which does not ft. Desiigner. As much as I love and want to support BTS, I did not enjoy Desiigner’s rapping. I feel like he zapped that high energy level which MIC Drop encompasses. I almost have to apologize for this as BTS seemed so excited to collaborate with him! I am, however, happy that they reached 28th of Billboard 100. BTS’ hard work has paid off – they deserve the spotlight.

The main point is, a lot of rapping here in North America falls under two styles which just doesn’t sit well with me. 1) Gangsta style and 2) Non-energetic, almost-lazy, rapping. Yeah, I said it. Drake? Shit. What the hell, Drake? He’s got a great on-camera personality during interviews and whenever he M.C. for something but his somewhat whiny and way too chill rapping just sounds lazy.

And then there’s BTS – Each and ever single member of the rapper line is so passionate and energetic in their rapping, I get lost in it. I also love LE from EXID and Chanyeol from EXO. Suga gets me Every. Single. Time. Ahh, Suga’s solo, First Love – his performance was so amazing!

Music Videos

 

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it until I’m proven wrong.

K-pop music video production is like no other. It’s partly due to much of it having great choreography. Yet even the ones I’ve watched with no choreo is just beautiful. The story it tells is like a mini-movie.

What main stream music video did I see the other day that had me almost disgusted? U2. And I LOOOOVE U2. Classic U2 music brings me back to when I was in university, heading to their famous Zooropa Tour concert. Ah… Bona decked out as the devil and pretend prank calling then said US president. Those were great times.

Yet this recent video they released was crap! It was of them just being shot in various scenes of NY or some major US city. They are either just walking around, standing around, or playing their instruments/singing. I don’t know how many main stream bands and performance artists have this exact story board (if you can even use the word ‘story’ here) as the main strategy for their music video.

Then there’s the amazing visuals from EXO (Monster, Ko Ko Bop), Monsta X (Beautiful, Dramarama), BTS (Spring Day, Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Run, DNA, MIC Drop, the list goes on).

To top that, compared to main stream boy bands, k-pop choreography is REAL. I actually went back to some of the choreography of tunes I use to like from N’ Sync or Backstreet Boys. Re-watching them, they seem so slow and well, there wasn’t really any true dance talent from what I could see. BTS dance skills, even the weakest dancers, far outshine the past boy bands.

Lyrics

 

This is biggie. For me to forever love a song 10 years from now, it helps for the lyrics to mean something to me. Take Sarah Mclachlan’s Possession. I have not gotten sick of this song and it’s mainly due to the haunting and poetic lyrics:

Through this world I stumble
So many times betrayed
Trying to find an honest word
To find the truth enslaved

Oh you speak to me in riddles
And you speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath
Your words keep me alive

 

Awhile back, I was excited to download No Doubt’s latest album after Gwen Stefani collaborated with her old band again. I remember their lyrics use to be pretty sweet. Either I was right or my memory sucks. All I know is that there’s a handful of catchy tunes on their album but when I went to do a deep dive with one of my fave songs from their album, I found this:

I’ve been wasting all this time
But I can’t let go
Cause it’s just the way i feel
Getting used to your mistakes
But I can’t let go
Do you ever think I’ll heal?
You could be right
I could be wrong
Year after year always rewinding where we’ve gone

And it’s basically similar like the above for the entire song. I felt so let down. Could the lyrics not be phrased with more effort? With more care?

Now I want to post the translated version of BTS’ Blood Sweat & Tears:

Peaches and cream
Sweeter than sweet
Chocolate cheeks
And chocolate wings
But your wings are wings of the devil
In front of your sweet is bitter bitter

Kiss me, I don’t care if it hurts,
Hurry and choke me
So I can’t hurt any more
Baby, I don’t care if I get drunk, I’ll drink you in now
Your whiskey, deep into my throat

It has that haunting yet beautifully poetic verse like that of Mclachlan’s Possession.

Okay – I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say. Hopefully, I’ve been quite fair with what I have shared here. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion and it’s not an argument of why k-pop is better than main stream music. It’s just basically how I am having an even harder time accepting main stream music myself these days. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped listening to my fave tunes – but it’s added to how I am already so picky when it comes to what I hear on the radio.