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!

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part I

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Okay! So this is start of my 2019’s 30 Questions K-pop Challenge. As with before, this is going to be random so lets just hope I finish it by the end of 2019!

I mentioned the last time, I would compare how my answers have changed since i did this almost two years ago. Let’s see!

Question #1 – Your favorite k-pop boy group

BTS Season’s Greetings 2020 Photoshoot

Ah, well, this one hasn’t changed at all. While I’ve picked up on many favorite boy bands since I started getting into k-pop, my favorite has not changed. Of course, BTS is still my favorite then and now. It’s been quite an amazing journey they’ve taken us on as well. When I first discovered BTS, they were not known outside of Asia and the ARMY fandom. Now, everyone and their grandparents have at least heard of them!

Where as back then I would have gotten a, what’s a BTS type response, now, three years later, they’ve won American music awards, did a speech at the UN, toured stadium (including 2 nights, sold out at Wembley), appeared on so many late night talk shows (and 2 daytime ones on Ellen), reached #1 on the Billboards multiple times, and well, the list is so long I’ve completely lost track! I’m extremely happy for all achievements by BTS as a whole and the individual members.

Question #1 – Your favorite k-pop girl group

This one is an interesting question to answer because when I first did this 30-day challenge, my knowledge of k-pop was of true amateur status. I didn’t know many groups, let alone girl groups. I was frustrated with the obvious, double-standard sexism between boy and girl groups within the k-pop industry. There were not as many bad-ass girl groups with equally bad-ass music and choreography to really grab my attention.

(G)I-dle LION music video

My first semi-favorite girl group was EXID and my first serious favorite girl group was (and to some extent, still is) Blackpink. At the moment, though, I would have to say (G)I-dle is by far my favorite.

For me, not only does (G)I-dle show their talents on many level, but I see them breaking the rules a bit. I noticed them in Latata and have been steadily following them while being impressed with each of their comebacks.

Their sound tends to show variety from comeback after comeback and song after song. Something I haven’t found as much in many groups aside from BTS. They really can dance, especially the leader, Soyeon. I watched their dance practice for Uh-Oh and was floored with how strong of a dancer Soyeon is. I have no doubt in my mind these ladies would kill any choreography given to them if, and I put an emphasis on ‘if’, given the opportunity. K-pop still has some ways to go before we see an all-female group dance circles around their male counterparts.

They are, however, under CUBE Entertainment. And we all know how CUBE managed ( or mismanaged) 4MINUTE and then the whole Hyuna and E’Dawn from Pentagon dating scandal. My hopes is they have smartened up with (G)I-dle. They’ve got themselves a really amazing group of talented women. For God’s sake, CUBE management! Wake up! Don’t f*ck up this one!

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

Left to Right: J-Hope, Jimin and Jungkook

LOL! This one definitely has changed drastically! I used to say Park Jimin from BTS but now, after seeing BTS live twice, it’s none other than Jung Hoseok!

Yes ’tis true, I am the category of ‘wait until you see him live’ – the J-Hope effect hit me strong after watching BTS perform the first night I went to see them. The unbelievable stage skills and strong persona emitted by J-Hope is hard to ignore. Plus the man is so talented on many levels, it’s difficult to not gravitate towards him! Well, the J-Hope stans get my point.

I think Jimin is a sweetie and still one of my favorite k-pop male dancers. But he’s almost too cute – if that makes any sense.

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

G in (G)I-dle stands for Girl Power

The last comeback post I created didn’t do (G)I-dle’s latest comeback, LION, justice. Not at all. And that is shameful of me. I even said I still liked Uh-Oh more. What was I thinking?

So I want to continue on about how much I love this song. After seeing it on their comeback stage and listening to it a couple of more times, I pretty much am now on my knees bowing to this song.

Hey – I still love Uh-Oh, but LION? God damn!

One thing I noticed is how much power their performance pours out from the stage. And not just from the members themselves. I was very impressed with their back-up dancers as well.

(G)I-dle also has shown they can put out different sounds song after song. And there’s a more even line-distribution than other groups. While I lack confidence in CUBE Entertainment, I have confidence (G)I-dle can go far if managed properly (though there lies the problem – CUBE is notorious for being a shitty management company for female groups/artists).

Queen Sunmi – LIVE (Warning World Tour)

Yes – I did indeed have the opportunity to see Sunmi Live this past weekend. And she definitely ruled the whole room!

Honestly, I love her music. She produces some great tracks. What amazed me more was her fans, though. She has some seriously devoted fans – it was a fantastic level of energy!

We had row 6 seats which included Hi-Touch, She gave everyone a high-ten, actually. But when my daughter went up to her, Sunmi grabbed both my daughters hand for a bit and well, it was just the sweetest thing!

Below are three videos I took during the concert.

The only downer was the security. We paid good money for our VIP tickets but they allowed people from any part of the theatre the fill the front part of the stage/aisle even though this venue had no GA area.

My daughter is not very tall so had a difficult time trying to see over the people who were standing there illegally. And being married to a firefighter it was a huge issue against any building fire code.

Aside from that, Sunmi and her crew did a fantastic job performing! For one of the smaller k-pop concerts I’ve been to, the performance was definitely top notch! I recommend going if she’s passing through a city near you.