Thursday, August 18, 2011

K-Pop #1: The Beginning

Posting for Wednesday, 8/17. Yep, I'm on a roll here, chasing the gap!
~~( O__O)>"

Speaking of chasing, here's one of my favorite poems.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon
By Stephen Crane

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never — "

"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

There it is. Man, short and soo poignant. I've actually shown this to some people and they say something to the effect of, "I admire him, chasing after his dreams no matter what." To this I just stare like so. (⌐⌐_) They completely missed the point about blindness and close-mindedness.

ANYHOO, that really didn't have anything to do with this post but I didn't want to make a separate one.

On to the main point: Korean pop music, or, as I call it: K-Pop. Unless your circle of interest is stubbornly regional you will have heard something about this. The spread of Korean entertainment, otherwise known as the Korean wave or Hallyu, didn't stop in Asia. While it's still burgeoning in North America it has a definite hold. K-Pop has a plethora of detractors and they're entitled to their opinions. One of their complaints is that K-Pop is extremely manufactured. This is true. And this is one thing I do not begrudge the genre. It is unabashedly and openly commercial. You know how you hear music fans, and not just hipsters, bemoan their idols "selling out"? Throwing away their deep musical hearts and selling their complex musical souls for mainstream success and fat stacks?
Yeah, well, catchy music sells and nobody embraces that like K-Pop. You know how Lady Gaga songs are catchy? I'm one of those people who scoff at her fans' talk of 'pioneering' and 'revolutionary' musicality. I know what she looked like before her mainstream success and I'll tell you now, she wasn't born this way. Google search [lady gaga pre-fame] and you'll find it.
At this point you might be cringing in horror thinking, "A genre of Lady Gaga-esque music?" *reaches for noose*
I'd say stay your hand good sir! The good thing about K-Pop is that it is so prolific. There's bound to be a track in there that is so damn catchy you'll like it. I mean, really, LOOK AT IT'S FANBASE! It's spread all over the world and I'll be damned- no, you'll be damned if you really think all those fans actually understand Korean hahahaha. K-Pop is so catchy it's gotten everywhere based on that quality alone.

Admittedly, I don't check everyday anymore like I used to, but I still listen to some good tracks that came out a few years back. I'll go about giving out doses of my favorites here in subsequent K-Pop #X posts.

If you're new to K-Pop, well hahahaha. I hate to do this, but I have to warn you to that the industry- No wait, this applies to the American pop scene too. Anyway, auto-tune has gotten out of hand. It's in almost everything. But if you can look past that then you should give it a chance. No, really. Look past it. As in, look up older songs. Hallyu hasn't passed it's "heyday" or anything like that, it's just that if you are like me, you prefer not to have every syllable auto-tuned.

What better song to put in the inaugural K-Pop post than the song that actually got me into the genre in the first place! Actually, that is a story in itself. My first taste of K-Pop passed me by. I wasn't even aware of it when I heard the song. I just knew I liked the sound. (That actually perfectly describes the mechanism by which K-Pop spreads lol) It was at the end of a particularly well-made Anime Music Video. The original has since been deleted but here's a lower quality copy I found:

The snippet of the song comes after the credits.

The creator of the original video is still around and here's a stand-alone copy of that signature sequence:

As you can hear, that segment didn't actually contain any lyrics so I couldn't know its origin. I dug a little bit and, once again, like-minded weirdos like me posted questions about the clip, against all odds of being answered, and we were rewarded. The snippet came from a Korean song called "O 正.反.合" (a.k.a. "O - Jung Ban Hap") by a group called DBSK (a.k.a. TVXQ). Hehe. Not to be a hipster or anything but I encountered this song before the Korean Wave really hit the U.S.

Here is the music video for the song itself:

I don't know if any of you guys out there (⌐⌐_) (_¬¬) are the type to scrutinize this closely but this song IS a lot older than 2009. I won't go into the messy details but the company S.M. Entertainment reuploaded all the videos between Nov. 23-25 of that year.