Thursday, May 02, 2013

Music knows no language...

It's one of those nights where I won't sleep for a few hours. So, instead of tossing and turning in the dark, I'm going to be productive and pop out a new blog post. I've briefly commented before on my love of Korean Pop and Korean Hip Hop music. I thought tonight I'd give you an insight into how that love came about and post some of my favorite songs/videos. (I'll focus this post on kpop only, and then follow it up in a few days with khip hop...) Soooo....Several years ago, I was an avid reader of Perez Hilton's website. One day, as I scrolled through his latest posts, I came across a music video that would change my life.

The music was catchy. Like, instantly in your head, walking around the house singing the tune and dancing, catchy. And there was dancing! As you may or may not know, I'm a sucker for dance. I can't take my eyes off talented dancers. I grew up in the era of boy bands like N'Snyc and the Backstreet Boys. But I had NO idea boy bands could have so many members. I had no idea what I was getting myself into by watching this video:

"Sorry Sorry" by Super Junior

I soon "forgot" about this song and video. It wasn't until a year later that it resurfaced as one of my "recommended videos" on YouTube. When I watched it for the second time, I was totally hooked. I spent the next few months searching for and downloading a ton of Super Junior's songs. To this day, Sorry Sorry is still one of my all time favorite KPop songs.

After a few months of "all Super Junior, all the time" I decided to branch out into other Kpop groups. I quickly found SHINee. 

"Ring Ding Dong" by SHINee

Again with the dancing. SHINee is probably my all time favorite group in terms of choreography. They are ALWAYS perfectly together and their choreo can get pretty crazy/difficult.

I also discovered DBSK/TVXQ (Acronyms are key in kpop.) through this video:

"Mirotic" by DBSK/TVXQ

This is one of the only songs by them that I actually like. However, a few years after I discovered this song, 3 of the members left the group and formed a different group called JYJ. I happen to really like JYJ.

"Get Out" by JYJ

One of the members of JYJ is Junsu. The first song I heard from his solo career was Tarantallegra. The song is amazing. The video is perfect. It's not overtly sexual, but it's obviously erotic. Junsu sports several looks, including playing a female role. (Not like, "oh, there's a guy dressed in drag." More like, "wow, that woman is really pretty...Wait..What? That's a man? Well, he makes a very beautiful woman.")The female backup dancers have more curves than bones. (And they look FABULOUS!) The dance is out of this world. And the song title was taken from a Harry Potter spell. 

"Tarantallegra" by Junsu. 

After Tarantallegra, Junsu came out with Uncommitted. Love the song. The video is "eh." It works well with the song, but there's nothing really special about it. (Unless you count Junsu's blue hair, which I actually really like. )But the entire song is in English. And not just English, but good English.

So, around the time that I was listening to SHINee and DBSK and Super Junior, I discovered a couple of girl groups. First, was Girl's Generation aka SNSD. (Don't ask me what the acronym means, I honestly don't know.) 

"Genie" by Girl's Generation

Girl's Generation is not my favorite girl group of all time. Honestly, they aren't even in my top 5. I love a couple of their songs, but I find most of their music to be way too "cutesy" for my taste. I do, however, admire their (and all the other girl groups') ability to dance and sing in high heels without injuring themselves or others.

If Girl's Generation is the "barely clothed" prom queens, F(x) is their kind of weird, but way cooler little sister. (Literally. One of the girls in F(x) is the younger sister of one of the women in Girl's Generation.) I tend to like F(x) a lot more. Their music is less "baby cute." They also have a girl named Amber, who happens to get put in boy's clothes pretty much constantly. She usually has really cool short hair (I've actually taken in pictures of her to give my hairstylist an idea for cuts that I love.) and she gets to rap.

"Electric Shock" by F(x)

After several more months of rotating a few of these groups, I discovered Big Bang. My life will never be the same. They are the one kpop group that I love basically every song I've ever heard from them. They make a range of music from pop to hip hop and r&b. Most of them have successful solo careers. This group has had a series of controversies including the leader being accused of smoking weed, one of the other members had a sex scandal (read: he had a one night stand and the girl went to the media about it) and one of the members was involved in a car accident where the other driver was killed. Still, this is a resilient group. No matter what mistakes they make or what life throws at them, they try to stay focused on their music. They are also known for being trend-setters. There is no limit to the clothes/ hairstyles these guys will experiment with. After a while, you just learn not to question them. They can pull of almost anything they wear, if only because they have the confidence to wear it.

From baggy clothes and roller skates:

"Lies" by Big Bang

To suits and tommy guns:

"Tell Me Goodbye" by Big Bang

To seaweed hair, multicolored motorcycle jackets, and ice cream hair:

"Fantastic Baby" by Big Bang

Some of their solo careers have been pretty successful. Most notably G-Dragon:

"Heartbreaker" by G-Dragon

"Crayon" by G-Dragon

And TaeYang

"Only Look at Me" by TaeYang

"Wedding Dress" by TaeYang

One of my all time favorite songs by Big Bang is called "Foolish Love." There is a line that is repeated throughout the song. "Everything's gonna be alright." This is one of the handful of songs that I crawl into when I'm having a bad day or I'm upset about something. Sometimes you just need to hear that everything's gonna be alright.

"Foolish Love" by Big Bang

This song has given me peace during a broken heart, helped me fall asleep when I have insomnia and calmed my nerves in stressful situations. This song is amazing.

After falling in love with Big Bang, I was introduced to their "sister group," 2NE1. These women are my favorite girl group of all time. They are so talented. Their music isn't the typical "cutesy/sexy." They are a modern day Spice Girls. They are the friends that every woman needs. They will bust out the ice cream and alcohol when you get dumped. (After keying your ex's car, of course.) They will remind you of how beautiful you really are when you hate your body. They will encourage you to become an astronaut or an artist or a cop. Whatever intrigues you at that moment. They will make you laugh. They will take you out dancing and give you a makeover. They are the friends you come to trust and rely on for everything.

"I Don't Care" by 2NE1

"Go Away" by 2NE1

"Ugly" by 2NE1

"I am the Best" by 2NE1

There are a ton of other groups in kpop that I listen to and even more that I don't. But I think that's a pretty good start. 

Kpop is a great genre of music. It's got variety, catchy tunes, and killer dances. It's great to listen to in the car, or when you are trying to go to sleep. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of kpop groups and I've only scratched the surface of them. The lyrics are mostly Korean, with a few English phrases mixed in. But it's fun to sing to, none-the less.