K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 7

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As our city enters phase 3, we finally had a chance to host a very small family, dinner party, within our social bubble. It was great timing as my dad turned 86.

We love hosting and spoiling our guests. Nothing gives us more pleasure than to ensure they are well fed with a pre-planned menu. I took this as an opportunity to do some pandemic tutorials – flower arrangement and creating a proper charcuterie board.

I had been doing the charcuterie board all wrong before. I used to just throw together all my favorite cheese and cured meats, then organized them in rows or groups by types of food on the board. This time, I got creative and ensured the board look like it was exploding with food. I also hadn’t realized the importance of the accompanying tastes – something tart, something sweet. I had a lot of fun and while we also provided fresh Maritime lobsters as the main course, the board was the superstar of the evening.


I have been promising my daughter I would give ATEEZ a chance. The timing was perfect with their recent comeback.

INCEPTION, their comeback song, is exactly the style I love so much. The beginning starts with I’m in love… and it builds and moves from there. I wouldn’t say it’s a happy love song. It’s perhaps a one-sided love at first site, and then seeking this person out from there on. To be honest, I would say it’s more an obsession rather than true love.

I downloaded their comeback album, FEVER, and while I still have not fully given it 100% of my attention, I know enough, for me at least, ATEEZ will be a group in which I like some of their songs. As for the rest, I won’t ever hate their music but their style includes too much of the trap-inspired genre for me to enjoy. INCEPTION works for me because it’s not far from my other two favorite ATEEZ songs, Promise and Answer. These songs have more melody, less edge yet maintain high energy.

Once again, my favorite k-pop girl group, (G)I-DLE, has come out with another amazing single, DUMBI DUMBI! This time, unlike their last two comebacks, LION and Oh my god, we find a more lighter and fun song. I not only love this summer-vibe track, but it shows how diverse these ladies can be.

There are a couple of comebacks I’m also looking forward to…

SuperM’s 100 drop August 14th 1PM KST. I’m not expecting a lot but I am still excited. SuperM’s Jopping was a lot of fun – but that’s how I see SuperM. They are a fun and energetic group. I don’t expect anything deep.

ONEUS’ TO BE OR NOT TO BE drops August 18th 6PM KST. I’m not normally a follower of ONEUS but this teaser really caught my attention. I look forward to being introduced to this group!

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.


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. 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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Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part IX.ii (continued into 2020)

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

So…. I know it’s 2020 but I started this in 2019. It was supposed to be completed in 2019 but… I ran out of time! I’m not sure what to do with the title now but oh well!

Question #20: Favorite picture of your guy k-pop bias

From BTS’ Speak Yourself Tour.

Well – the thing with J-Hope, the photos do NOT do the man justice. Trust me. Trust all who stan this man. The above, however, is what I would say to be one of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen of the one and only Jung Ho-seok.

What makes him my bias, though? The man is a genius. I feel this way for the entire BTS rapper line, though. In fact, each members have their own unique talents to add to the whole BTS assemble. J-Hope, for me, is a powerhouse. The man can rap, sing, compose, write lyrics and DANCE! My full respects go to Mr. Jung.

Bonus photo from their Cypher 4 performance. It’s Cypher 4. And J-Hope. It’s J-Hope performing Cypher 4. Need I say more?

Question #21: Favorite picture of your girl k-pop bias

Soyeon from (G)I-dle’s LION photoshoot

Yeah. On the same line of artistic geniuses, here’s another one!

Known as the leader or (G)I-dle, Jeon So-Yeon is also the main rapper, center, singer and main dancer. That’s not all, though. She also writes most (if not all?) of (G)I-dles’ music. Her well-rounded talents and skills is making her the talk of the industry. I certainly feel she deserves the praise. In fact, I hope she continues down this path of recognition.

She is definitely not the first female idol to have such fierce talents but I think she’s breaking a lot of barriers here. For the future of other female kpop idols, she could possibly be paving the way!

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

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part V

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #10: K-pop dance you’d like to learn

Well, I haven’t fulfilled my wish to learn Blood Sweat and Tears and at this point I think it’s safer for my knees to abandon that idea.

Since then, I have learned the main parts of many k-pop choreography thanks to the downtown drop-in dance studio featuring many original k-pop dance covers (just of the chorus parts). My ultimate fave choreo was MIC Drop Remix with Anpanman being a close send.

At the moment I think I’d like to do (G)I-dle’s LION. It looks hard! But I’d be up for the challenge!

Question #11: Favorite k-pop music video

While BTS’ MIC Drop Remix music video is still one of my all-time favorites, their other classic will always be Blood Sweat & Tears. The visual creativity, imagery and theme which went behind this video is something we just don’t see much in general these days (k-pop and non-kpop alike). And so I deem this video my #1.

Having said that, there’s been so many great music videos since – from both BTS and others.

At the moment, I’ve been watching a lot of WayV music videos. Moonwalk being my favorite of theirs. The rest of WayV m/v’s so far, I have to say while the visuals are great, are not really anything other than letting their dance skills dominate the videos (which is fine – they are skilled dancers!)

TXT’s Run Away is another one I frequently watch. I look forward to more videos from TXT as they have adapted BigHit’s formula of tying in symbolism and themes so well from video to video. Also, any of SUNMI’s videos are fun to watch!

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