Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gangnam Style

Finally, I'll write something about Gangnam Style.   A lot of white people who live in Korea tend to hate K-pop.   In the venn diagram of things, the usual male English teacher in Korea hails from musical interests that tends to scorn anything top ten.  The constant bitch from people like us it that K-pop is just mass produced fake bullshit.  To some extent that argument is sound, but it is also a cliche and predictable refrain.  You can pre-empt any conversation about K-pop with a straight white guy in Korea by saying key words like: plastic, fake, crap, mass produced, corporate, and you can even test your opponent's sanity by dropping the i-bomb as in Illuminati. (Shit, I bet I'm going to get people who googled "Illuminati," dropping by now.)

Many people have already noted that Psy's success must be the utmost shit sandwich for anybody from the big Korean record companies who thought that one of their mini-skirt squads would make it big in the states.   Delusional thinking by S.M. entertainment prompted them to send over nine girls to get leered at by Dave Letterman, Regis Philban, and Bill Murray. 

My personal favorite case of schadenfreude is the one that Park Jin Young must be feeling.   He sent The Wondergirls over to America to become the next big thing, without understanding that girl groups are about fifteen years late in places that aren't Asia.  Besides that, there have never really been too many successful girl groups in America.  Sure there was Ace of Base and the Spice Girls.  En Vogue was pretty awesome but they only had three big songs.  (They also showed more skin in 1996 than the Wonder Girls will ever be willing to do.)  

Also what must be extraordinarily bitter for everyone on the the Wonder Girls and Girls Generation band wagons is the crazy positioning of Hyun-ah.   Hyun-ah, the former Wonder Girl.  Hyuna-ah, the girl who at 17 years old made the song "Change,"  the song that made the puritanical "Brian In Jeollanamdo," loose his shit and empty his lube tube.  Hyun-ah, who lit up the blogosophere again earlier this year with people calling her a stripper, for her role in the song "Trouble Maker."  (I have to admit to being a fan of "Trouble Maker," that whistle beat is pretty cool.)   I called it too.  Sure she has that whole sexy thing working for her, but the girl can spot an opportunity and follow through, and there she was in the "Gangnam Style," video, in the subway looking all hot and doing the horse dance next to Psy.   Where were the other Wonder Girls?  Where was Jessica and Taeyeon?  They weren't anywhere.  And now Hyuna, is the it girl in the number #2 billboard song.  Let me rephrase that - the Kpop song that isn't translated into English - that is also the number #2 billboard song.  Take that S.M. and J.Y.P. entertainment.


3gyupsal said...

To all of the people hating on Hyun-ah, just let me remind you of Madonna's "Open Your Heart," video. Madonna actually does play a stripper and does a dance in a peep show. At the end of the video she goes home with a middle school kid who some how snuck into the peep show and saw it all. And this was in 1986. Hyun-ah has yet to breech that kind of trashiness twenty six fucking years later.

Brian said...

Just saw this, and I think you're the first person to ever call me puritanical. That post was several years ago, and like most of them I had forgotten I wrote it until I saw people reading it recently. It's interesting, I guess, to see how some of the K-pop people have changed once they've gotten out of the mold of their boy- or girl-bands.

I like your first paragraph, and reading most armchair commentary on K-pop is, well, unreadable because of that kind of condescension. I'm not a big K-pop fan, unless I'm feeling nostalgic, but a lot of the hating on it is basically just older people complaining about young people: nothing new here. I'm often reminded of Michael Hurt's first post on the Wonder Girls, which was just a 30something complaining about what teenagers are listening to these days.

3gyupsal said...

Hey Brian in Pittsburgh. I'm sorry if you took offense to me calling you puritanical.

I am somewhat offended for your implication that I am a Kpop fan. I maintain that my Kpop appreciation is not fandom but rather interest. I still kind of want to punch French people at SM town concerts.

As for Michael Hurt. I usually respect what he has to say. I don't think that he has to go to such lengths to say them though. His post about SNSD on David Letterman was a bit overkill.

I miss your blog. I'm lucky that I don't need it anymore though. I work at a university now, and I am not hostage to the desk warming system of the public schools, so I don't really blog or read other people's blogs anymore. It's kind of a shame. I really don't give a shit about public schools anymore. I would have liked to take over your Korea Times editorial racket.